Prior to the start of the Fire’s 1-1 draw with the Houston Dynamo Friday, the club announced that captain and centerback Jeff Larentowicz would miss the match and an estimated two weeks with a herniated disc. On Monday, head coach Frank Yallop provided a bit more insight into the situation, explaining that Larentowicz has been dealing with recurring pain in his neck since at least the June 24 match vs. D.C. United and would meet Tuesday with a specialist to better gauge the extent of the injury.
“I’m not sure the signs are great right now,” head coach Frank Yallop said Monday via teleconference, “but there’s hope that he’ll be OK to train soon. Right now, it’s up in the air what time he’s going to be back. We’re just waiting to hear tomorrow afternoon.”
Even with the rash of injuries that have befallen the Fire of late, the news of Larentowicz’ impending absence from the lineup still came as a surprise because of his well-earned reputation as an MLS iron man.
Since establishing himself as a full-time starter for the New England Revolution by his third year in MLS, the 31-year-old has been nearly impossible to keep off the field. Larentowicz hasn’t been held out of more than two MLS regular season matches since 2006, his second year in the league, and was in the Starting XI for all but two of those appearances. In the 2010 and 2011 seasons with the Colorado Rapids, he played in every regular-season game on the schedule.
Per Yallop, Larentowicz battled through his recent neck pain and lingering groin issues for some time but, regardless of the outcome of further evaluation, is already on the verge of missing more match action than he's grown accustomed to.
The injury, coupled with a nagging groin strain felt by fellow centerback Adailton, means the recent acquisition via trade of Ty Harden from the San Jose Earthquakes is likely to pay immediate dividends for Yallop, even factoring in Harden's own recent hamstring issues. The newcomer has not played in an MLS match since scoring for the Quakes against the Fire on March 22 in San Jose.
Still, in the event Adailton is held out of the team, Harden could see his Fire debut come as soon as Saturday vs. Seattle in a centerback pairing with Eric Gehrig, who capably assumed Larentowicz' spot in Houston.
“[Harden] hasn’t been full training yet, it’s been a lot of running,” Yallop said, "but he’ll be ready to go on the weekend I’m sure."