The best season of Benny Feilhaber’s six-year career in Major League Soccer took place last summer, and it was recognized with a third-place finish in the league’s MVP race. He led Sporting Kansas City with 15 assists, and he tied for second with 10 goals.
Which makes Sporting KC’s 2-0 start this season all the more impressive. It has come without Feilhaber on the field.
The absence could be nearing its end. After missing the opening two games of the season, Feilhaber hopes to return to practice later this week, depending on how he reacts to a side session Tuesday. The club is off Wednesday before resuming its daily training schedule ahead of Sunday’s 6 p.m. home match against Toronto FC.
“We’re just going based off how he feels each day. He’s doing more stuff today than he did before,” Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes said after Tuesday’s training session. “We’ll see what Thursday brings.”
Feilhaber strained a muscle on the right side of his abdomen during the final days of preseason, though he says it’s unclear exactly when the injury occurred.
With a two-week break after Sunday’s match, Sporting KC could elect to hold Feilhaber out and provide an extra couple of weeks of rest. The club has used a midfield trio of Soni Mustivar, Jordi Quintilla and Roger Espinoza in the first two games.
The process to return will be a slower one for winger Justin Mapp, who the club acquired via free agency in the offseason. Mapp has turf toe but participated in a light side session Tuesday.
Quintilla and Chance Myers were full participants in training after sustaining minor injuries during Saturday’s victory against Vancouver.
Newcomer Diego Rubio has also joined practice. Sporting KC acquired Rubio on loan earlier this month.