Eric Kronberg back in training for Sporting KC, but several weeks away from re-joining lineup

Eric Kronberg

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Eric Kronberg has traded the cast on his left hand for a pair of goalkeeper's gloves, but a return to match action for Sporting Kansas City's No. 1 is still several weeks away.

“It feels good to be out there with the team again and get some work in. I kind of feel like a goalkeeper again” Kronberg told MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday. “I'm happy with my progress and I want to keep moving along.”

Kronberg, who took over the No. 1 spot when Jimmy Nielsen retired after Sporting's 2013 MLS Cup title, has not played since breaking the fourth metacarpal in his left hand during training on July 9. Still, his seven shutouts before the injury have him in a five-way tie for first in MLS.

“The hand doesn't really bother me at all,” he said. “It's just the range of motion in my fingers. That's the only thing that's bothering me. Once that gets back up to speed, we should be good.”

Andy Gruenebaum, who made six starts after Kronberg was hurt, is also back to full training in goal after missing two league starts with a right shoulder strain.

“There's a little bit of getting used to the pace again,” he said on Tuesday. “It's weird not playing, and then you get thrown into a [training] game. You get it back. Your first day can be rough sometimes, and others – it just depends. Today was a little rough for me, but it was fun to be back in there and get involved and just get back into it.”

Still, Gruenebaum stopped short of pronouncing himself ready for Friday's home match against Houston (8 pm ET, NBCSN/stream on NBCSports.com), meaning 21-year-old Homegrown keeper Jon Kempin could be up for a fourth straight start across all competitions.

“I'm hoping for Friday, obviously,” Gruenebaum said. “Ultimately, I want to do what's best for the team. I want us to win.”

Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.