Bated breath

Adu injury proves to be a bit more than expected

Adu vs. Seattle

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It appears the injury Freddy Adu sustained in Sunday’s win over Houston is a bit more serious than originally believed.

Thought to be a hip pull, Adu’s injury has been revealed as a quad strain. According to Union staff, the injury is still being listed as minor, but Adu told philadelphiaunion.com that the discomfort has intensified since the initial pull after scoring his second goal in the 3-1 victory over the Dynamo.

“Jogging on it is fine, it’s when I try to get up to speed is when it causes a little discomfort,” Adu said during Wednesday’s practice. The forward-midfielder did some light running and stretching, but wasn’t involved in full team training. “I feel like it’s not something that is going to last, I just want to make sure I take it easy and not aggravate it any further.”

During his weekly press conference yesterday, manager John Hackworth said that while Adu participated in a “full workout,” he thought his franchise player “was a little behind” in his recovery at this point.

“Hopefully Freddy can be available by Saturday, but we aren’t going to push it,” Hackworth said. “He was able to go through a full workout today, but again we are a little behind where we thought he’d be.”

Watch: Columbus preview

The club leaves Friday for a Saturday night showdown against Columbus at Crew Stadium (7:30 p.m., The Comcast Network). For the third consecutive match, the Union is out to spoil the plans of a playoff team on the bubble. Columbus (13-11-6, 45 points) are losers in three of its last four, but all of those were road matches. This season, led by newcomers Jairo Arrieta and Federico Higuain, the Crew have won their last four at home and are unbeaten in six.

Higuain has tapered off however. After scoring three goals and adding six assists in his first five matches, he’s gone cold for the Crew a big catalyst in their recent slump. Saturday will be Higuain's 10th match for Columbus since joining the franchise as its third ever designated player during the transfer window in July. As for Arrieta, he remains red hot, scoring five goals in six matches since joining the club in April.

“I think Columbus is a team that hasn’t lost at home in a long time, they are a good team and they showed that when they came here,” Hackworth said. “So for us, we feel like we need to go back there and do the job against a team that’s fighting for a playoff spot and for us, the only way we can stave off elimination is to get a result – a ‘W’ and that’s what we plan to do.”

While the playoffs are unlikely for a team that needs a miracle to book a postseason berth, the mathematics of MLS say the Union can still clinch a spot. With that said, the scenario as the Saturday looms is as following:

  • A loss to Columbus ends any chance, or...
  • A Houston Dynamo win at home to New England (8:30 p.m., MLS Live) also does, or...
  • A draw against Columbus and a Houston draw against New England will too.

“We looked at this stretch of games in the beginning of the year and we knew that it was probably one of the most difficult stretches for any team in the league and it has proved to be that way,” Hackworth said. “In fact, I was reading something [Tuesday] that said the degree of difficulty in our schedule, it’s like us and Los Angeles are the two teams with the hardest roads remaining…we are asking the guys in the locker to get better every game and lets just continue to improve so that if it doesn’t happen this year, it builds momentum going into next year.”

Injury update

As aforementioned, Freddy Adu is hampered and its unknown if he’ll travel with the club. Union trainer Paul Rushing said he wanted to see how Adu felt Thursday before making any rash decisions on his outlook against the Crew…Gabriel Farfan is listed as questionable for this weekend’s match, but Farfan told philadelphiaunion.com that he felt good. He took part in team training, but didn’t go the full session and received immediate cool down and massage work. Farfan missed time after sustaining a right ankle contusion in last Thursday’s 1-0 loss to D.C. United at home…Keon Daniel took part in practice but was in the trainer’s room receiving treatment on his right knee contusion sustained a mere nine minutes after checking in for the injured Adu on Sunday.

Contact Kerith Gabriel at kgabriel@philadelphiaunion.com. Follow Kerith on Twitter @sprtswtr.