[Carr] - "I’m looking to keep pushing the guys and hopefully get into so games and help out the team.”

Carr Back in the 18

Lost in the hype of Sunday’s Designated Player showdown with New York was the appearance of Fire veteran striker Calen Carr on the bench and in uniform for the club’s scoreless draw with the Red Bulls.

It’s a sight Fire fans hadn’t seen in a while, as the University of California alumnus has struggled to return following a right quad strain suffered in preseason.

“It was great to be out there for the first time this year,” said Carr. I’ve been watching from the stands for so long that it was good to feel a part of things, from just being back in training to leading up to the game. Obviously that was an exciting game to be a part of in any manner. It was a good night, it was just unfortunate that we couldn’t come away with the win.”

Though a strain doesn’t seem like it could keep a player out for six months, the injury affected the 27-year-old’s back which better explains the long absence.

“It’s been really tough I’ve had my share of injuries now and it’s never easy. The hardest part is watching the team and not being able to help or play a part. Just to be out here competing and fighting with the guys every day, working together towards a better second half of the season is really rewarding after all the hard work put in and all the hours spent in physical therapy.”

For those that showed up early to Fire games over the past month-and-a-half you saw the hard Calen’s speaks of. Just because he wasn’t in the match day 18, Carr spent much of pregame running in order to keep his fitness up in preparation for his full return to training with the team.

“My fitness has been good. The running kept me in shape and it helped get me back into training much more quickly. Now that I’ve been practicing with the team the last couple weeks I feel I have a good base underneath me so I’m not too worried about the injury – hopefully it’s behind me. Now I’m looking to keep pushing the guys and hopefully get into so games and help out the team.”

Jeff Crandall is the Team Writer for the Chicago Fire. Follow him on Twitter @JefeCrandall.