David Accam - Orlando City SC vs. Chicago Fire - 3/11/2016
USA Today Sports

Veljko Paunovic: Chicago Fire's David Accam not game-ready yet, but close

It's been a long wait for David Accam's return to the Chicago Fire, but it appears to finally be over soon.

Although the Designated Player made the roster of Saturday's draw against D.C. United, he didn't play and coach Veljko Paunovic said Accam is not expected to be ready for game action until a pair of home games at the end of the month against the Houston Dynamo and the Portland Timbers.

"In the next 10 days we want to improve David's fitness," Paunovic said on Monday. "You have to understand, he was out six weeks – it doesn't matter how hard you work on the side and you're preparing, it's completely different than having the rhythm of the game and the pace of the game. When you're out six weeks, it affects a lot."

"So we want to build his fitness, we want him to feel good about participating on the field. That's our plan in the next 10-14 days. As soon as he progresses well, and he will, we will manage the minutes in the game and we believe we can have him for the final two games this month at least."

Accam sprained his knee in March after featuring in just two matches of the 2016 season. In those two appearances, he scored two goals and added an assist for the Fire.

The Ghanaian made the bench Saturday due to a lack of numbers to fill the roster and also to help push his recovery along, Paunovic added.

"He was never planned to play in that game, but we wanted him to be in the same environment in preparation for the game and being with his teammates on the bench," he said.

Meanwhile, midfielders Matt Polster (lower leg strain) and John Goossens (sprained lateral collateral ligament, left knee) are expected to return to action soon, too. Both also missed Saturday's home match but Paunovic said both should be cleared to return to the field by the end of this week and will be available for the Fire's next match, a May 11 road game in Vancouver. Neither trained with the team Monday, he added.