For Matt Taylor, this season has been just as trying as any of his teammates. Chivas USA's poor showing in its inaugural campaign has taken its toll on the entire bunch.
Aside from the turbulence that has been the starting lineup however, Taylor has had to battle through a serious injury that could have ended his season prematurely. But a little more than a month after having sports hernia surgery, Taylor is back, trying to secure a spot in the starting 11 and fighting through the after-effects of surgery.
"It's going to take a couple of months before I can really get some rest in the offseason before the nerve gets to repair itself because it's been damaged for so long -- a year and a half -- that it just doesn't repair immediately," Taylor said. "The nerve is still damaged in there and it still feels like it's being pinched on and really hurting."
Taylor traveled to Germany for the procedure, which was performed by a Dr. Ulrike Muschaweck, a world-renowned specialist who has operated on more than a thousand footballers worldwide. Normally, a sports hernia surgery takes months to recover and had Taylor done it the traditional method his season would have ended in August. As it was, Dr. Muschaweck had Taylor back in action by the time Chivas came off its month-long road trip in early September.
In all, Taylor missed seven games. Surgery was the only option after he realized the injury was not improving.
"It was getting worse and worse after every game," Taylor said. "It got to the point where I could barely walk after games. My strength wasn't there at all so I just had to fix it. I felt it affected my play every day."
After Chivas USA's 3-2 U.S. Open Cup victory against the Charlotte Eagles, Taylor said the injury was particularly difficult. Three days later, Taylor played 85 minutes against the Galaxy but could not continue afterward.
"(After the Open Cup), it really, really hurt and really put a strain on it," Taylor said. "I could barely move. I gave it a go but it wasn't strong enough to push me through the (Galaxy) game."
The injury came at a bad time for both Taylor and Chivas USA. Taylor had earned a starting spot after having spent significant time on the bench. In his first start in more than one month, Taylor scored a goal in a 2-1 loss at FC Dallas. Three games later, Taylor had his breakthrough match when he scored a goal, had two assists and set up to other plays that led to goals in a 5-1 rout against Real Salt Lake, the highlight of the Chivas season.
"I had been making some really good passes and really helping," Taylor said. "I thought I was playing well and really contributing, either passing or getting chances or scoring goals ... It was tough having to stop but it came a point where I had to."
In the three games since returning from injury, Taylor started once and has come off the bench on two occasions. In essence, he lost his personal momentum and is fighting for a spot alongside Antonio Martinez and Francisco Palencia in the Chivas three-pronged attack, as those two seem to have cemented their starting status a while back.
Still, Taylor is not upset about the whole ordeal.
"Things happen. You can only control what you can control," Taylor said. "I'd have to go have the surgery eventually and I'd have to make a team again if not here. I wasn't too worried about. I think eventually I would have either found a place back on the team here or found another team. If it would have come down the offseason, I would have had to have skipped more than I already skipped."
Luis Bueno is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.