Union's Cruz eager to make his return after injury scare

CHESTER, Pa. – When Danny Cruz got tackled hard during last Wednesday’s game against Chicago, he felt two things right away: pain and fear.

“I was scared,” Cruz told MLSsoccer.com. “Immediately, I asked for a sub. I was really worried. It was just a shooting pain and something I’ve never felt before.”

When the game ended, Union manager John Hackworth said it looked like Cruz might have some kind of fracture. But the shooting pain in his foot soon subsided, and, over the next few days, he responded well to treatment.

The injury is now classified as a right Achilles tendon strain. And while it forced the Union attacker to miss Saturday’s 1-0 win over New England, he’s confident he’ll be able to return for the club’s final three contests of the 2012 season, starting with a road matchup against Houston on Oct. 20.

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“I don’t plan on missing any more games,” Cruz said.

The knock to his Achilles came on top of a left big toe sesamoid stress fracture, which he said “doesn’t feel good, but enough where I could play.” He certainly showed that against the Fire, enjoying arguably his best half in a Union uniform before being forced out of the game with the Achilles injury. He assisted on the team’s first goal in its 3-1 road victory with a perfect through ball.

“I’ve heard people say that [it was my best game with the Union],” Cruz said. “That’s OK with me. I just try to contribute every week. I think I was on a little bit of a run these last few games.”

Cruz admitted it was frustrating to have to leave a game in which he was playing so well. But he’s still filled with relief that his injury is not nearly as bad as he originally thought, and he is excited to pick up where he left off for the final weeks of the season – and into 2013.

“I think people that know me know I can play through a lot,” he said. “But that scared me. It was a sharp, shooting pain and something I’ve never felt before. So I was really worried. But everything turned out well.”

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