KANSAS CITY, Mo. – As the waiting game goes on for Bobby Convey, Jacob Peterson finds himself playing a growing role for Sporting Kansas City.
Convey had hoped to be available for Saturday night’s home matchup against the Houston Dynamo (8 pm ET; watch LIVE online) after missing Sporting’s six previous league matches with calf strains. Now, that’s been pushed back – Convey’s hoping to be available for their July 11 US Open Cup quarterfinal at Philadelphia at the earliest.
It means more time for his replacement, who’s only too happy to run himself into the ground helping push SKC ever higher.
“It’s something that I’ve learned from my years in the league – that I need to outwork people,” Peterson said on Friday. “I might not have the technical skill that other players do. I accept that, and I know my role. I want to go out there and try to work the outside back. At the end of the day, if I keep him occupied and make him defend, he’s not coming down after us and trying to score on us. We’ve got so many creative players on this team. I don’t need to do that. I need to help the guys do whatever they can to score.”
Peterson, who has two goals in his last four matches, will likely fill in again at left wing on Saturday. It would be his third time in the starting lineup this season since joining Sporting in the offseason.
“Jake has a lot of good tendencies to play out wide the way we want to play,” head coach Peter Vermes said in the team’s weekly news conference on Friday. “He can cause a lot of havoc and he’s quick. He’s got a tremendous work rate.”
Peterson’s performance has made it easier for Vermes to bring Convey along slowly.
“He had a little setback the day before yesterday,” Vermes said. “I’m not going to rush anybody back before they’re fit. Once they are, then we’ll wait a week. When he’s back, he’s back, and then we’ll slowly bring him in and indoctrinate him back into the team.”
Convey understands, even though the run of missed matches is frustrating for the veteran.
“When you’re out for a month, you need to train a little bit so you don’t just go back and get hurt again,” Convey told MLSsoccer.com after Friday’s training session. “I feel OK, but I don’t want to come back and be average. I want to come back and be able to help the team. Right now, there’s no point in playing and trying to push it because there are other guys who are playing well.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.