Colorado Rapids maestro Vicente Sanchez healing quickly, could return before World Cup break

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – It looks like the Colorado Rapids will be enjoying the services of Vicente Sanchez again in the near future.

The influential midfielder jogged lightly and did side work at Wednesday’s training session, an indication that he will likely be returning from a knee injury before the upcoming three-week World Cup break next month.

“It’s healing quickly,” the 34-year-old Uruguayan told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday. “I’m hoping to be back on the field soon. I think it’s all going well.”

Sanchez leads the Rapids with five goals – four from the penalty spot – and has been a hugely influential piece since arriving in Colorado last August. His presence has been sorely missed by a side that has scored just twice in the three games since he suffered a sprained knee in a May 3 win over the LA Galaxy.

The team said on Wednesday that Sanchez is expected to be available again within two weeks, and head coach Pablo Mastroeni said on Wednesday the goal is to have him back before the World Cup break, which starts two weeks from Saturday. The team will still take a cautious approach regarding his return, however.

“He’s a good person to have available,” Mastroeni told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday. “Obviously a wealth of experience, and more importantly he’s a game changer, a guy that can flip the game on its head.

“We want to make sure that he comes back 100 percent. It’s just 11 games into the season, we don’t want him out for two more months, and the idea is that he’s back 100 percent. Obviously we’ve got a great training staff that’ll put him through protocol and make sure he’s ready to contribute. We’re excited.”

Sanchez, meanwhile, appeared optimistic about his return on Wednesday as well.

“It’s better,” Sanchez said. “I’m working every day with the coaching staff, and I think things are going well. I’m working hard and every day it hurts less. Hopefully I’ll be ready to go soon here.”

Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.