KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Depending on whom you choose to believe, Omar Bravo is ready to go ahead of Sunday’s Eastern Conference Championship against the Houston Dynamo.
Bravo participated fully in training on Wednesday, even taking part in a short 11-a-side game to close out the session. He put his fitness at 100 percent, saying he no longer felt pain in the strained groin that kept him out of both legs of the Eastern Conference semifinal against the Colorado Rapids.
Manager Peter Vermes, however, tempered that by saying he thought Bravo was closer to 80 percent and that he would continue monitoring the striker’s progress as the buildup to Sunday’s Eastern Conference Championship (5:30 pm ET; Fox Soccer, Fox Deportes; live chat on MLSsoccer.com) continues.
Long story short, Bravo’s status for Sunday is still up in the air.
“The thing is how he reacts today, how he reacts tomorrow and how he feels, if he is getting better also with the rehab,” Vermes said. “That’s the biggest thing. Outside of that, I can’t answer [whether he’ll play], and it’s not because I’m holding anything back. I just don’t know.”
Vermes made room for Bravo on his bench in Kansas City’s 2-0 victory in Colorado a few days after the injury occurred, then erred on the side of caution on Wednesday, leaving the DP out of the 18-man roster altogether on a rainy night at Livestrong Sporting Park.
Bravo said his omission from the roster against the Rapids in the series’ decisive second leg was made with input from all sides, including himself, and that he will available be on Sunday should Vermes decide his services are needed.
“I’ve been taking the time that is required to recover from these muscle injuries, and I’m 100 percent now,” Bravo told FutbolMLS.com. “I didn’t feel any pain, either on the sprints or shots on goal, and I’m very confident to play on Sunday”.
Vermes said Bravo would certainly be in the 18 if he believes the Mexican hitman can contribute, but he wasn’t ready to guarantee that or speak to the veteran’s ability to play 90 minutes with two days still remaining until the match.
Predictably, Bravo emphasized that he wanted to play but would respect his manager’s decision, especially considering the way Sporting have performed without him so far this postseason.
“It’s all up to Peter,” he said.