Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
For the first time in 2013, Arne Friedrich seems to be pain free.
The former German international hit the field on Wednesday for training with his Chicago Fire teammates, reportedly working with and without the ball during the training session. The defender had traveled to Germany for two weeks to rehab his latest injury, this time a hamstring strain.
Manager Frank Klopas was originally hoping that Friedrich could return by April 7, but as the 33-year-old hasn’t practiced or played in some time, it’s going to take some time before he is match fit. Friedrich also will not take part in the Fire’s friendly match against Minnesota United F.C. of the NASL on Friday.
Chicago has struggled defensively without Friedrich, giving up nine goals in their first four matches.
Here are some other stories to catch you up around MLS:
GALAXY VISIT THE WHITE HOUSE
The Los Angeles Galaxy were honored on Tuesday, along with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, on their championship seasons by President Barack Obama in the White House.
Galaxy midfielder Landon Donovan made his first public appearance with the Galaxy since last season’s MLS Cup, though he declined to speak with the assembled press at the event. President Obama joked with the team that he deserves some of the credit for last year’s title, as the Galaxy went on a remarkable run after visiting Washington D.C. last April.
The President later accepted an autographed ball from Donovan, and surprised members of the team and the audience by heading the ball in the air.
NUÑEZ TO RETURN TO FIELD BY JUNE
FC Dallas has gotten off to one of their best starts in club history, and their depth has been given a boost, as Ramon Nuñez isn’t far away from being fully fit.
The 27-year-old midfielder is recovering from a torn ACL that he suffered last year while at Leeds United in England, but Dallas manager Schallas Hyndman thinks that Nuñez will be ready to play by June 1. The Honduran’s last official match came nearly a year ago, at the end of April in a 2-1 loss for Leeds against Leicester.
Nuñez spent three seasons in Dallas during the mid-2000′s scoring 14 goals in 67 appearances. Nuñez has a long history with Hyndman, playing for the FC Dallas boss in 2003 at SMU, before joining the professional ranks a year later.
LEVERON NOT NEAR FULL FITNESS YET
Expectations are understandably high for Vancouver Whitecaps Jonny Leveron, but he’ll have to wait a little while longer before he gets his first taste of Major League Soccer action.
The 23-year-old defender played in Vancouver’s 4-2 win over F.C. Edmonton on Tuesday, but assistant coach Carl Robinson has said that Leveron’s fitness is not where it needs to be. The Honduran international missed time with the club due to visa issues, but is looking to put all of that behind him now that he is training every day in Vancouver.
“He’s a fantastic footballer, which we know,” Robinson said to MLSSoccer.com. “He’s got great ability on the ball, but fitness wise, he’s a long way behind the guys.”
Vancouver would certainly like to get Leveron into the starting lineup as soon as possible, as they are currently without stalwart Jay Demerit for the rest of the season, and defender Brad Rusin is suffering from a nagging knee injury, leaving the Canadian club a bit short at the back.
What do you make of these reports? Do you see Friedrich staying injury-free the rest of this season? When do you see Leveron making his first start? Do you see Donovan and co. returning to the White House next year?
Share your thoughts below.