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Peterson set for return to Sporting KC's game-day rotation

04/27/2013 12:27 PM

05/20/2014 10:43 AM

Finally, forward Jacob Peterson is off the injury report.

The gritty veteran had been sidelined since shoulder surgery in November, but he's been declared fit and ready for action.

"Jake looks to be back," Sporting Kansas City manager Peter Vermes said. "I think he's going to be in the 18."

Meanwhile, Teal Bunbury remains sidelined after tearing an ACL last August, but he's been participating more and more in training.

That doesn't, however, mean the time table for his return has accelerated.

"I've always maintained that it would be June 1 before he really starts entering training," Vermes said.

At the moment, Bunbury — who is the only player listed on the club's injury report (sprained knee) — is dealing with pain in his surgically repaired left knee.

There's an irritation under the kneecap similar to a common runner's injury, chondromalacia, but Vermes believes it will resolve itself as he gets more time in training.

Sporting KC also learned Friday that defender Mechack Jerome, who was signed from Orlando City SC two days before the season began, had acquired his green card and would no longer occupy an international roster spot.

That leaves the club with four international players — Oriol Rosell, Claudio Bieler, Peterson Joseph and Yann Songo'o, who is currently on loan to Orlando City — on the roster and four vacant international slots.

Looking specifically at tonight's 7:30 p.m. kickoff against the Portland Timbers FC at Sporting Park, Vermes sees several differences in the visiting side, who are in the first season under Caleb Porter.

He indicated that Portland have different players and a more experienced roster — including former Sporting KC defender Michael Harrington, who was traded to the Timbers after six seasons in Kansas City — and also are more organized than in years past.

He was especially effusive in his praise of midfielder Will Johnson.

"That guy's got a great work rate, excellent engine and he's a really good player for this league," Vermes said.

By no means will Sporting KC abandon its high-pressure style, but expect the defenders in particular to be a little more cautious with that high line after getting burned repeatedly by runs from deep in the midfield during a 2-0 loss against the LA Galaxy.

"We definitely tried to play the offside trap too much," left back Seth Sinovic said. "There were a lot of opportunities where we could have dropped and kept the play in front of us, but we tried to take the riskier play and got burnt for it. It's about reading the game a little bit better and, as a back four, staying more compact in a line and on the same page."

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