BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- Those hoping to see original Fire Homegrown player Victor Pineda make his first team debut early in 2013 will have to wait a little longer. The midfielder successfully underwent surgery last Thursday to repair his torn left meniscus following an injury suffered during the team’s post-season training sessions.
“The injury happened in the first offseason training,” Pineda told Chicago-Fire.com Tuesday. “I was dribbling on the left side and I turned to cross the ball with my right. As soon as I turned I felt the pain in my left knee immediately and fell to the ground.”
Prior to the surgery performed by Dr. Jason Koh out of Northshore Health System, the injury was expected to keep Pineda out just three-to-four weeks.
After going in, they discovered the tear to be larger than expected and was repaired rather than removed, extending the 19-year-old midfielder’s recovery to three-to-five months.
A regular in Tab Ramos’ U.S. U-20 side, the recovery timetable makes it likely that Pineda will miss out on February’s CONCACAF qualifying tournament for the 2013 FIFA World Youth Championships as well as most if not all of the club’s preseason which begins in mid-January.
“I was ready for the three to four weeks so when I found out it was going to be a lot longer I just felt sad. To be out for that long and miss the national camps, the qualifiers and preseason is disappointing for me.”
Signed as the club’s first Homegrown player in August 2010, Pineda has yet to make his competitive debut for the Fire first team but has appeared in friendlies.
In 2011, he came on as a halftime substitute in a 1-0 loss to Chivas de Guadalajara and dazzled much of the 90 minutes in September’s 2-2 draw with reigning Mexican Primera champions Santos Laguna.
Pineda made the game day 18 for MLS matches twice in each of the past two seasons with the last occurrence coming in the Fire’s 1-0 loss at New England on October 20. One week prior to that game, he hit a stunning long-range effort (WATCH) in a 2-1 Reserve loss at Houston, prompting Fire head coach Frank Klopas to say that he felt confident Pineda could contribute if called upon.
While the injury is a disappointing setback for a player that seemed certain to debut in 2013, Pineda is staying positive about the situation.
“I’ve just told myself that’s how it’s going to be. I can’t really do anything about it now so being sad or angry isn’t going to help. I’m taking my recovery one day at a time, trying to take care of my knee and so having my family around helps as I try to enjoy the little things.”