With all the departures, Fire’s more dependent on Patrick Nyarko to create
By SETH GRUEN For Sun-Times Media September 1, 2012 12:14AM
Injury-plagued Patrick Nyarko got some much-needed rest and is expected to start Sunday. | Getty Images
DYNAMO AT FIRE
The facts: 6, Ch. 5.2. Galavision
Updated: October 3, 2012 6:21AM
Most MLS players cringe at the idea of being pulled from the starting lineup, but for Fire midfielder Patrick Nyarko, it was a welcome move.
The team’s acquisition of Alvaro Fernandez gave Nyarko, who has suffered enough injuries this season to fill a medical journal, a much-needed two-game break in August.
He has dealt with bruised ribs, a sprained ankle and a sprained foot and covers himself with so much ice after games, he might as well conduct his postgame interviews in a freezer. Nonetheless, he has missed only a minimal amount of training and has been available for every game.
His latest respite should help sustain him for the Fire’s playoff push the next two months.
“It’s nowhere near gone, but I think, for sure, a break here and there definitely helps, and those two games were huge,” Nyarko said.
“My only problem is that I’m not 100 percent, but I’m not going to let that deter me. I’m going to keep attacking, and the coaching staff and my teammates always encourage me to do that.”
Marco Pappa’s transfer to the Dutch team SC Heerenveen on Thursday almost ensures that Nyarko will be in the starting lineup Sunday against the visiting Houston Dynamo.
And the additional departures of Sebastian Grazzini and Rafael Robayo earlier in the season leave Nyarko as the most creative player on the roster.
Nyarko, who leads the team with six assists, should see the ball more with Grazzini and Pappa gone. His ability to beat players on the dribble will be an asset as the Fire looks to be more aggressive offensively as the weather cools down.
“I look to create first, and that, I think, is my biggest attribute,” Nyarko said. “It’s going to be a lot of responsibility with Sebastian and Marco gone. We shared that responsibility.”
The Fire is thin at outside midfield because of the departures and injuries. Chris Rolfe is capable of manning the position, but he’s playing offensive central midfielder. Daniel Paladini has been used as a substitute at the position, but he’s starting at holding midfielder in place of injured captain Logan Pause.
So coach Frank Klopas has few substitute options for Nyarko late in games.
Earlier in the season, Nyarko was taking Toradol, a painkilling injection, before games. But because of some negative side effects, Nyarko discontinued usage for some months.
He might reconsider.
“That’s one question that I have yet to answer myself,” Nyarko said. “It’s going to be tough, especially going into this week.
“It’s making me reconsider. Taking those shots before the game helped me get through those games earlier. So I may have to do that again if I want to get through a 90-minute game.”