Jeff Parke is down but far from out.
It looks as if the Philadelphia Union defender will miss Saturday’s match at Chicago. Luckily for the Union, Parke’s strained hamstring shouldn’t keep him sidelined for too long.
“It’s not as bad as we first thought,” Union manager John Hackworth said at his weekly press conference on Wednesday. “That’s the good news. It’ll probably be a much quicker recovery. Unlikely he’ll be available on Saturday, though. Our medical staff is working hard with him to get him back as quickly as possible. But it’s not worth one game potentially losing him for three to four and doing more damage.
“I think we’ll be a little bit conservative but the good news is it’s not as bad as we first thought.”
In addition to Parke, the Union will also be without defender Sheanon Williams following a red card in last Saturday’s 2-2 draw against Seattle Sounders FC.
There will definitely be some roster changes against Chicago with Bakary Soumare and Gabriel Farfan likely candidates to fill in, according to Hackworth.
With three league matches in seven days, there could even more tweaks coming to the starting lineup and the 18.
“We have to manage our roster,” Hackworth said. “There’s going to be multiple guys who get an opportunity that haven’t been playing a lot and haven't been playing a starting role and things like that. So you have to manage these three games and it’s dictated by what happens in the first one for sure. We feel like we have good depth and were ready to do that.”
Hackworth referenced forward Jack McInerney as a player who capitalized on an opportunity to play last season.
Injuries and red cards will occur in any season and players must be ready.
“Guys can sense that there’s a little bit of an opportunity now,” Hackworth said. “And so that ratchets up the intensity and the reality that they might have a shot. Anytime a player, especially a professional player, who goes hard in training now has a chance to represent himself in a different role as a starting player, it’s fantastic. In my experience, it can change once a player gets chances.”
Just ask McInerney.
“I think we, as players, want to take advantage when we’re given a chance to play,” said McInerney, the reigning MLS Player of the Month. “I don’t think there’s a player who doesn’t want to be on the field. We all want to play because we’re all competitors. You have to stay ready and prepared when your number is called. Guys are going to get injured through the course of a season.
“We have guys here who will step up when their name is called. I think it’s all in how you prepare and in this locker room, we all pull for each other.”
Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at email@example.com