Carroll May Return Saturday vs. SJ

Midfielder has missed two weeks with strained hamstring

CHESTER, Pa. – Philadelphia Union midfielder Brian Carroll has been upgraded from questionable to “very hopeful.”

During his weekly press conference Wednesday, team manager Peter Nowak gave every indication that Carroll is on the mend and will likely be ready for Saturday’s game against San Jose at PPL Park.

Carroll strained his right hamstring in the first few minutes of Philly’s 1-0 win over the Red Bulls on April 9 and then was sidelined for the club’s last game – a 1-1 tie with the Sounders on April 16.

“We’re very hopeful he’ll be available for us this weekend,” Nowak said. “We’ll probably make a Friday decision. We just need to make sure we have the green light from our doctors.”

The Union were idle this past weekend, giving Carroll extra time to heal. The defensive midfielder has been practicing at full strength since last Thursday but is still being cautious with his injury, wrapping and icing his leg after workouts.

“I feel good now but hamstrings are funny things,” Carroll said following Tuesday’s practice. “It could pop back up at any time. I just have to be aware and be smart about it.”

While the Union midfield played well in his absence vs. the Sounders, there’s no denying the impact Carroll has made since coming to Philly in the offseason. The nine-year MLS veteran has blended in well with his new teammates and has been a boon to the club’s defense, which has allowed a mere two goals through five games.

“Brian is a very important piece to this team for many reasons,” Nowak said. “He’s a guy that doesn’t need to be praised. He doesn’t need to be visible. The most important thing is to bring him back as fast as we can because he’s shown us that in the midfield he allows other guys to go forward because he can play defensively.

“We are very positive he can join us this weekend but we also need to balance the fact that there are a lot of games beyond this,” the manager continued. “So we need to be smart about that, as well.”

Nowak also noted that Carroll’s partner in the central midfield, Stefani Miglioranzi, is a little banged up but is expected to be ready by the weekend. Rookie Gabriel Farfan (dislocated toe) is making strides but probably won’t suit up until the following week’s game in Portland.

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