10 days between matches will help any club with injury concerns, and such has been the case for the Philadelphia Union. While injuries were by no means crippling the club, the time off provided several key contributors with extra rest and time to rehabilitate.
The break appears to have done rookie striker Danny Mwanga a world of good, even though the 19-year-old managed to come on in the 72nd minute against San Jose after separating his shoulder just four days prior.
“He’s doing great,” Coach John Hackworth told philadelphiaunion.com after training on Tuesday. “The medical staff did an excellent job with him initially, and have continued to do so. I think that little bit of rest is really going to help him.”
Coudet and González Expected to Return
Two regular starters who didn’t suit up against the Earthquakes are also progressing well and expected to return Saturday. Defender Juan Diego González has missed the last two matches with a right groin strain, while midfielder Eduardo Coudet has missed the last three with a right calf strain.
“Both have been training, so we expect them to be available for the weekend,” Hackworth said. “We’ll have some tough roster selection choices later on in the week.”
Torres Battling for Minutes
Roger Torres is a spark plug nearly every time he’s on the pitch, but he also has yet to play 90 minutes this year. Torres has been used primarily off the bench after starting the club’s first six league matches, but he wasn't even included on the 18-man match day roster for the last two contests.
According to Hackworth, neither a dip in performance or an injury are to blame for the decrease in minutes. It would appear, then, that the technical staff believes others on the squad have simply earned their spot over Torres, or have been better suited for the past two opponents than the diminutive 19-year-old midfielder.
“No particular reason,” Hackworth explained when asked why Torres hasn’t seen any action since coming on in the 46th minute against Kansas City. “We felt like Roger was playing good and had played good up until the last two games. It was nothing about him that he didn’t play. He continues to do well in training. Hopefully he can have a strong rest of the week and get an opportunity on Saturday."