OBETZ, Ohio – Dilly Duka thought the comparison of him to a colt waiting to run unfettered was apropos given the way his season has gone so far.
The third-year Crew midfielder injured his hamstring 12 minutes into the season opener at Colorado on March 10, returned for 33 minutes off the bench against New York on April 7 then aggravated the same hamstring, causing him to miss the past five games.
But this week he was medically cleared and could see action when Columbus play at San Jose on Saturday and in Seattle four days later.
“I definitely want to go out there and run and sprint and go crazy, but I also have to be smart so that I don’t get reinjured,” he told MLSsoccer.com after Tuesday’s practice.
Coach Robert Warzycha is glad to have him back on the left side.
“He can do some special things on the field,” Warzycha said. “He can take defenders on and create chances. He’s good technically and holds the ball well. He can draw more players to leave space for someone else.”
Having Duka's attacking prowess back on the field will be welcome news, as the Crew, despite a 2-1 win over FC Dallas last Saturday, have only eight goals in nine games.
“I think I can help with the attack whether I start or coming in as a sub,” Duka said. “I’ll have fresh legs and some experience from playing last year.”
He scored his first two career goals in the final two games of the 2011 season and had a strong offseason that included time with the US Under-23 team before being injured.
“I’m anxious to see what he can do when he’s healthy,” Warzycha said.
Marshall still out
Defender Chad Marshall is still experiencing concussion-like symptoms 10 days after being hit on the head with a ball and is out for the team's two-game trip out West.
However, rookie midfielder Ethan Finlay is symptom free after hitting his head on the ground in the FC Dallas match. Finlay was dazed after receiving the blow and did not train Tuesday. Some good news came on the injury front for the Crew as defender Carlos Mendes (hamstring) and forward Olman Vargas (hamstring) should be available Saturday.
New midfielder Chris Birchall said he and Frankie Hejduk, now in the Crew front office, are disappointed and frustrated that the LA Galaxy did not invite them to the White House Tuesday for their part in helping them win MLS Cup last season.
Birchall called the decision “mind-boggling.” He added that he appreciated the Galaxy flying him from England to LA for the ring ceremony in March, but said he would have expected at least a phone call from the team telling him he would not be going to the White House.
“It’s a massive event in anyone’s life to go there,” Birchall said.
Hejduk went in July 2009 after the Crew won the championship the previous year. The club invited former coach Sigi Schmid and three ex-players from the 2008 team and presented them with their rings outside the White House.