Once a fixture in the Sporting Kansas City starting lineup, midfielder Paulo Nagamura battled an ankle injury that limited him to only two appearances in Major League Soccer matches over the past four-plus months.
A couple of notable absences, however, necessitated his return to the lineup Wednesday night.
Nagamura started in the midfield against New England on Wednesday, marking his first MLS appearance since Sept. 7. He started the first 10 matches of the season and 17 overall before he suffered an ankle injury that included a slow healing process.
With its postseason fate on the line in the Eastern Conference semifinals, Sporting KC returned to Nagamura.
Not that it had many options.
Lawrence Olum missed Wednesday’s match with a fractured fibula — a season-ending injury he suffered during extra time of the match Saturday in New England. Fellow midfielder Peterson Joseph sat out Wednesday with an undisclosed health issue.
Benny Feilhaber and Oriol Rosell also started in the midfield, pushing Graham Zusi to forward.
• Sporting Kansas City will have a new TV home in 2014.
KMCI-TV, 38 The Spot, has acquired the broadcast rights to Sporting KC next year, the station and club announced Wednesday.
KMCI will televise as many as 26 regular-season games, and it will also air pregame and postgame shows.
“We’re going to give Kansas City soccer fans unprecedented access, not only on KCMI, but on KSHB (Ch. 41) as well,” said Brian Bracco, the general manager of both stations.