As D.C. United deals with a spate of unfortunate injuries, there couldn’t be a better time for the club’s 2014 Most Valuable Player candidate to be on the mend. Having been out of action for nearly two months, Fabián Espíndola is anxious about the possibility of returning to the field.
Despite the layoff, Espíndola still leads United in both goals (8) and assists (7).
“I’m excited,” he said. “I just want to play and get game rhythm. I don’t think I’ll go out and play like I was playing before right away. It will take a little bit of time, but it will come.”
The Argentine forward sprained the MCL in his left knee in a tackle at the opening whistle against the Montreal Impact on June 11 but went on to register three assists in the 4-2 win at Stade Saputo. He has missed six MLS games since.
“It’s been so hard,” Espíndola said. “I think this is the first time I’m out so long. It was hard. I’ve been trying to be calm. I’m serious all the time, not too smiley. But I think it’s the way it goes. It’s too much time, out and it sucks.”
While Espíndola has been sidelined, other D.C. United attackers have stepped up, keeping the Black-and-Red right on Sporting Kansas City’s heels at the top of the East. Over the last six games, Perry Kitchen (two goals, one assist), Nick DeLeon (one goal, one assist), Eddie Johnson (three goals, one assist), Chris Rolfe (one goal, two assists) and Luis Silva (two goals, two assists) have all made key offensive contributions during a four-game win streak.
“It was awesome; It was fun to watch,” Espíndola said. “The team is doing great. Unlucky game the other day [United’s 1-0 loss at Houston], but besides that, were doing great.”
Espíndola’s recovery is still timely, particularly with a recent season-ending injury for forward Conor Doyle. It will test United’s depth up front and push Espíndola in his pursuit of pre-injury sharpness.
When asked for the best guess of where he is at the moment, he said: “Right now? 85% why not?”
As Espíndola begins to regain his form, his former team, Real Salt Lake, is next on the docket for D.C. United.
“It’s going to be fun,” he said. “It’s going to be great, if I make the trip. It will be good to be back.”