Salinas Returns from Stress Fracture
Long after the Union registered a huge 1-0 victory over the Chicago Fire Saturday night at PPL Park, Shea Salinas was still signing autographs and high-fiving the club's passionate fans.
Salinas had a lot to be happy about on this night.
The 24-year-old midfielder hadn’t played for the Union since a 2-1 loss to San Jose on July 10. If you’re counting, that’s more than two months ago.
Salinas entered Saturday’s match in the 69th minute for Alejandro Moreno.
He hardly looked like there were any lingering effects from his left fibula fracture.
“I looked that good?,” Salinas quipped. “Well, I have been working hard to get back. In my entire career, I’ve never had to sit out for two months. It was tough. I wanted to play so badly, and it was tough to wait. To come back and play and help the club get a win feels great.”
Salinas said that his fitness will grow each game.
“After the third long run, I felt a little winded, but that’s normal,” Salinas told philadelphiaunion.com. “I’m one who gets fit pretty quick. It just felt great to be out there and playing.”
This was Salinas’ 12th match of the season, and he provided an immediate spark. That has been the case all season, and if you look back, you’ll see that his only goal in a 3-2 win at Houston on May 29 was voted AT&T Goal of the Week.
The most important part of each game from here on out is to get three points.
“We have seven games left and we’re going one at a time,” Salinas said. “It was huge to get this one. The fans deserved it. We’re going to stay after it and focus on the next one now to try and get three points again.”
The three points meant so much to the entire club. For Salinas, it was just fantastic to feel as if he contributed.
And he enjoyed the victory with the fans long after the match.
“They’ve been supporting us all season,” Salinas said. “They really deserved it. I’m very happy. It was tough sitting out. It felt great to be back.”