KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Bobby Convey came back to Livestrong Sporting Park and had to look for his locker. He found he’d been moved to the other side of the room.
After more than two months away from Sporting Kansas City’s home pitch while he recovered from a series of calf strains, Convey wasn’t about to quibble – especially after being back in the starting XI for the first time since May 19.
“When you’re out that long, you don’t necessarily feel part of the team,” the left winger said after Saturday night’s scoreless draw against New England. “You kind of just go in, do treatment and go home. You’re not traveling with the team – and with the long road trips this team has had, they weren’t even here for a week at a time.
“It’s definitely mentally challenging to be out," Convey continued, "but I’m happy to be back in and playing.”
HIGHLIGHTS: SKC 0, NE 0
Convey, who missed seven league matches in his absence and hadn’t played at Livestrong since a 2-0 loss to Montreal on May 5, made his return as a late sub in last Wednesday’s 2-1 away loss at Houston. On Saturday, he went into the 70th minute against the Revs before being lifted for Michael Thomas.
“I feel pretty good,” he said. “We have a good medical staff here. I felt comfortable, and I’ll just get stronger as I keep playing.”
Manager Peter Vermes would have kept Convey on the pitch even longer, but didn’t want to overtax him -- especially with temperatures just under the 100-degree mark throughout much of the game.
“What he brings to the game is a real intelligence and great service,” Vermes said in the postgame news conference. “He had some very good service in the game, maybe a little off on one or two, but he’s a dangerous player for us. I have to be careful with him, [but] I really wanted him to go more because he was dangerous.”
Convey had no problem with his manager’s decision, especially after being left in longer than the hour Vermes originally intended.
“That was always the plan,” Convey said of Vermes’ decision to ease him back into full-90 fitness. “I’d only played 10 minutes in two months. I’m just happy to be back out there. Obviously, this game was a little bit slower than normal because of the heat, but I feel pretty good and I think we’ll be fine going forward.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.