They didn’t get a result, but Saturday night’s 4-3 defeat at Houston wasn’t a complete loss for the Chicago Fire.
One positive note was Patrick Nyarko’s return from injury. The Ghanaian midfielder/forward, who missed six of seven matches while dealing with a concussion suffered on July 3 at Columbus, looked good after coming on for forward Brian McBride in the 60th minute, playing a key role in the Fire’s two goal comeback.
“[It] feels good,” Nyarko said of his return on the Fire’s postgame show. “I mean, it’s been a while since I played and I just practiced for a couple of days, so I was kind of nervous how many minutes I could go here.
"But the coaches promised me like 20 minutes, and I got down here and felt like I could contribute, and they got me in earlier in the game. It felt good to be out there again.”
Nyarko, who has spent the majority of his time this season on the wing, played as a forward Saturday night. He looked dangerous in the middle of the field, combining well with withdrawn striker Freddie Ljungberg, creating opportunities off the dribble and even partially forcing Houston’s 70th-minute own-goal.
Nyarko said he enjoyed getting time at striker, which was his primary position last season.
“The coaches read the game and thought I could use my pace up there to create some problems for the defense,” Nyarko said. “We needed a push, we needed a couple goals to tie the game and they threw me up there."
Fire technical director Frank Klopas said he was impressed with Nyarko’s ability to step in at forward and not miss a beat.
“I think Patrick has been great when he’s playing out wide because he has the pace and space in front of him, and it’s easier to make the decisions,” Klopas said. “But being on top with a guy like Freddie underneath, who was able to get the ball and find him when he’s making those runs through, [was good] as well.”