VANCOUVER, B.C. – Vancouver Whitecaps youngster Omar Salgado is set to miss two to four months with a broken right foot after fracturing his fifth metatarsal.
The attacker picked up the injury a week ago while on international duty with the United States Under-20 national team in Uruguay, and spoke to reporters for the first time in Vancouver’s 3-1 Reserve League victory over the LA Galaxy on Tuesday.
“It was obviously disappointing,” Salgado said while watching the match at the University of British Columbia’s Thunderbird Stadium. “I guess I have to stay positive, and now it’s about trying to recover and getting back the quickest.”
There’s no good time to get hurt, but the player’s first major injury must be particularly frustrating given his positive 2012 campaign to date.
After having a slow rookie season in 2011 with minimal game time – just 504 minutes over 14 appearances – Salgado was proving an excellent left-sided option for Whitecaps head coach Martin Rennie after working his way into the lineup.
Playing stronger and with more confidence while thriving in that new wide position, he looked the part of a first overall MLS SuperDraft pick – something some began to question after his debut season. He impressed in several MLS matches, but it was in the Canadian Championship semifinal against FC Edmonton that he looked particularly dominant. Salgado set up both Vancouver goals in a 2-0 win in the first leg, and easily looked the most dangerous player on the pitch.
“[The timing] makes it a lot more difficult for me,” Salgado said. “Coming into a good moment in the league for me personally – getting back into the season and making a difference to the team was disappointing, but I can’t really look back and say, ‘Well, I could have done this different.’ It just happened, and now it’s just recovery.”
Given the projected timeline for his return, Rennie and Salgado are aiming at a potential comeback just before or during the MLS Cup Playoffs, should the Whitecaps qualify.
“[Rennie] told me to stay positive,” Salgado said. “I’ll be coming back at the best part of the season – the end and the playoffs. Hopefully my team can accomplish that, get into the playoffs, and give me a chance to play.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.