CARSON, Calif. – After a lengthy stay on the injury list to start the season, Chivas USA midfielder Michael Lahoud is champing at the bit to return to action for the Rojiblancos.
Fresh off recovering from a left hamstring strain that kept him sidelined for the first two months of the season, the 25-year-old winger made his season debut last week against the Chicago Fire, going nine minutes in a disappointing 2-1 stoppage-time defeat.
Although the circumstances were hardly ideal for his return, Lahoud is pleased to have cleared a major stage in his recovery.
“It wasn’t the debut that I wanted in terms of the result, but it was a definitely a massive hurdle conquered by getting back to the field,” he told MLSsoccer.com. “I think that the next step for me is to just keep moving forward. Now that I took what for me was a big hurdle, for everyone else it was just playing, but now that I’m back on the field, I’m looking to make an impact on the team.”
Lahoud’s road back to action has been a long – and at times frustrating – one. After being considered the consensus club MVP during the preseason, he has been on the shelf since straining his hamstring just days before the season opener.
Since suffering the injury, his recovery has been an incremental one, but the slow and steady look to recovery did not prevent Lahoud from suffering a setback several weeks ago that delayed his recovery further. That didn't deter him, however – Lahoud made his first gameday roster less than a week later against Colorado, setting the stage for his debut against Chicago.
Now that he's gotten his first game of the season out of the way, the fleet-footed wide man hopes that his time on the sidelines and the training table is in the rearview mirror.
“I feel more confidence in [my hamstring]; its intense days that it’s showing up, taking a knock and then getting right back up,” Lahoud said of his recovery. “The quicker that I can get back up, then the more confidence that I have in my body. It’s literally just going to be getting through games and doing the little extra things before hand to make sure that I’m ready to go, but whether it's 10 minutes or more minutes this possibly this weekend, I feel like I’m ready.”
Lahoud may have an opportunity to prove himself on Sunday against the San Jose Earthquakes (7 pm ET, Galavision) as the club looks to fill the hole left by midfielder Oswaldo Minda, who is suspended due to yellow-card accumulation. With Chivas looking to add spark into an attack that has tallied just one goal in its last three matches, Lahoud could slide in on the flanks to create more width the attack.
While Lahoud knows it’s not call, he’s ready to show that he’s up to the task to face more minutes.
“At the end of the day, it’s up to the coaching staff," he said. "Obviously in my own little world, I think that every player would like to get back in the mixer, but I have to keep working and show that I’m ready physically and have the right mentality to get back out there for 90 minutes. I think that incrementally, to get more minutes will go a long way for the team and for myself in particular to show that I’m really back.”