CHESTER, Pa. – On Wednesday afternoon, Andrew Wenger participated in his first full training session in five weeks.


Then, when all of his teammates went back to the locker room, the Philadelphia Union winger stayed on for some extra running.


After missing five straight league games with a concussion, it’s now full speed ahead for Wenger, who hopes to return for Saturday’s home tilt against the New England Revolution (7 pm ET, MLS LIVE).


“I’m trying to find fitness,” Wenger said. “I’m just trying to get myself ready to play whenever the manager asks me to play.”



Wenger didn’t expect to be out this long when he first took a hit to the head during a 2-1 loss to Toronto on July 18. But the headaches and fogginess didn’t dissipate as quickly as he hoped, and Wenger could only watch as the Union sputtered to a 1-2-2 league mark during his absence.


“It was nothing I could control,” he said. “I was kind of always hopeful it would be the next game or the next week, but after a while, I kind of put it out of my mind. And when it happened, it happened.”


Union head coach Jim Curtin revealed Wednesday that Wenger has been officially cleared, noting the Duke alum thought he should have been able to return a day earlier. But Wenger didn’t score high enough on his baseline concussion test to participate in Tuesday’s session.


“He’s almost – I think – too intelligent and he beats himself up,” Curtin said. “I think he got three or four wrong [and] he was arguing whether he got them wrong or not, so they didn’t let him play. They got it sorted out now with the league and he’s officially cleared, and it was good to have him back.


“He’s anxious, he’s running around out there with a smile on his face. It was good to see.”



Wenger might not return to the starting lineup, with prized summer signing Tranquillo Barnetta taking Wenger's spot on the left wing for the last few games. One of the team’s top players during the second half of the 2014 campaign, Wenger hopes for a productive final two months after scoring just one goal in his first 21 games this season.


“That’s soccer,” Wenger said. “It hasn’t been the season [I] would have hoped for. But you just have to keep grinding away and keep working forward.”


Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at djzeitlin@gmail.com.