Chicago Fire midfielder Patrick Nyarko said he was "a little lucky" that his injury during Saturday's 2-1 loss to Seattle Sounders FC was not severe.
Nyarko was dealt a vicious knock from Sounders midfielder Servando Carrasco at the end of regulation and into second-half stoppage time. But Nyarko said Monday that Carrasco's cleats-to-the-shin blow should not keep him out.
That is good news for the Fire (1-1-1) and last year's assists leader, who also assisted on Chicago's lone tally by Diego Chaves over the weekend. Chicago has a busy agenda over the next week with a Thursday match at the expansion Portland Timbers (televised on ESPN2), followed by Sunday's return to Bridgeview when the Fire host the Los Angeles Galaxy at Toyota Park.
"Initially I thought it was bad myself," Nyarko said of the injury. "It's nothing but a big bruise. We just got done with training [Monday], even though we didn't do too much, and I'm shooting for Thursday."
During the sequence, Nyarko beat Carrasco to the ball, and Carrasco drove his foot over the ball and directly above Nyarko's right boot and into the shin. Despite the two and a half minutes when Nyarko was tended to before Orr Barouch's substitution, referee Hilario Grajeda did not add any precious extra time for the Fire who trailed by a goal. Four minutes of stoppage time was awarded, when it should have been closer to six.
Nyarko was visibly upset with the officiating on Saturday, particularly in the first half as he turned to Grajeda and a sideline official during several instances. He also had a quick chat with the officiating crew before the Fire and Sounders entered the locker room at halftime.
"After the first half, I figured that's just how it's going to be the rest of the game," Nyarko said. "I just decided to let it go. Arguing didn't help me or the team to try and get the team back into the game. I think we fought better than the first half, but we were too late. We know what we need to do better for Thursday and our quick turnaround."