BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Fire forward Calen Carr can’t quite explain how it’s all happened, but he knows it feels good.
The 27 year-old forward has scored two goals in the two games he’s played since returning from a strained left quad in his season debut last Wednesday against New England. The goals were Carr’s first since 2008.
“I don’t know,” Carr said when asked about the secret behind his recent success. “It felt good to be able to come in right away and make an impact. It’s gone better than I could’ve expected. I think I’ve just been out so long and that I’ve wanted to be out there so bad that I’m just really putting everything I have into it.”
It’s been a long road back for Carr, who suffered his injury late in preseason training. The forward spent more than three months rehabbing his quad, working hard in the hopes that he’d get back on the field quickly.
“I’ve been working my butt off for a long time,” Carr said. “I’ve been getting my legs strong and doing some lifting and making sure that I’ve been running to stay fit and just been working hard.”
Now all his hard work is beginning to pay off. He’s looked good coming off the bench the last two games, sparking the Fire’s attack with his trademark pace, solid dribbling, and good finishing.
“I feel good right now,” Carr said. “Whatever role I have I just always try and bring energy to the team and use my pace and my mobility to kind of open up some space and it’s been good.”
But Carr wouldn’t have come back with such a bang had it not been for the play of new Fire midfielder Freddie Ljungberg, who has assisted on both of Carr’s goals.
“Freddie draws a lot of attention, so I just try and stay mobile and keep moving off him and he’s done a great job of finding me and I’ve been fortunate to knock them in,” Carr said.
“He’s been really good about giving advice and pulling me aside in trainings or even when I’m coming into games and talking to me about what he sees and what’s open,” Carr added. “I’m more than happy to soak up any sort of advice that he can give me. I just try and drift off his shoulder and hear what he has to say.”
Carr’s run of good form could earn him a place in the starting XI for this weekend’s match at Seattle. If he gets the nod, it would be his first start since May 2008.
“He is producing big things for the team,” Fire head coach Carlos de los Cobos said. “I need to analyze if it’s necessary to start Calen [against Seattle].”
Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @samstejskal.