Veljko Paunovic continues to see his side regain fitness and form during its 13-day interim between matches, providing an update Monday on a number of players aiming to return to the pitch at 100 percent strength.
After a blistering first two matches of 2016, David Accam was kept out of action in the March 19 draw with Columbus Crew SC due to a knee sprain. The knock was enough to prevent Accam from acting on his call-up to the Ghanaian National Team, and it remains to be seen whether he’ll be available for selection Saturday at home vs. Philadelphia (4 p.m. CT, CSN Chicago).
“David is recovering well,” Paunovic said Monday. “We still don’t know if he will be on time for the Saturday game, but he is recovering well. We have to check his status day by day and see how he will recover for the game. At this point we can’t say if we will be able to play the game against Philly.”
The news was more positive for midfielders John Goossens -- who exited the match with Columbus at halftime -- and Arturo Alvarez. Both were back in full training Monday morning.
Defender Eric Gehrig also has taken the next step in a return to match action following his lengthy rehab from the foot injury that ended his 2015 campaign in September. Gehrig recently had all training restrictions lifted and this week will join USL affiliate Saint Louis FC -- where fellow defender Patrick Doody played 89 minutes on Saturday -- for a midweek match at LA Galaxy II.
“Eric is fit, he’s fine but obviously needs games to play,” Paunovic said. “We can’t decide [minutes for Saint Louis FC] but we expect that he can get some minutes in order that he can be better prepared or eligible for the game against Philly, or the next game. We are not putting any deadlines in front of him or us. We just want Eric to recover well, build some minutes in the game and after that we can evaluate how he feels. At this point he is good to go, he accepted obviously and was very happy that he could get some minutes playing for Saint Louis.”
Gehrig started 25 matches during his 2015 debut season with the Fire following four seasons in Columbus.