Published on March 7th, 2017 | by Jeff Engelhardt


John Goossens Out Six Months With Ligament Damage

The Chicago Fire was dealt a blow Tuesday as the club announced midfielder John Goossens would be sidelined up to six months after he undergoes surgery Friday to repair a ligament in his right ankle.

Goossens suffered the injury in the final moments of Saturday’s season opening draw against Columbus as he tried to regain possession in the Fire’s own half during a hectic finish. As the final whistle blew, the Dutch midfielder was seen being carried off by trainers and unable to put any weight on his right leg.

It is a devastating blow to a team that was already short on depth. Goossens proved his value Saturday, playing a strong second half paired with Dax McCarty in the midfield. It was Goossens pass that proved to be the key delivery for David Accam’s crucial goal.

The 28-year-old’s greatest attribute, however, comes in his versatility. He regularly puts in shifts at right wing, where he and Arturo Alvarez have established themselves as the best options. But he’s also shown the ability to take on any assignment, including filling in nearly last minute for a guy like Juninho who was unexpectedly suspended for the opener.

The biggest blow comes at right wing where the Fire was already in need of more options. Alvarez will need to carry a heavy load if no additions are made to the roster. A player like Joey Calistri, who has plenty of promise, might be the first choice off the bench, but there will be plenty of game situations where coach Veljko Paunovic likely will not be comfortable throwing the youngster into.

The middle of the field, where Goossens was needed Saturday, should not be in too much disarray. Juninho is back Saturday and Matt Polster could be back in early April to provide some high quality depth.

The first true test of 2017 is here for Paunovic and general manager Nelson Rodriguez. It’s hard to see them keeping the roster as is with Goossens’ injury, but it is also going to be difficult to find an available right winger that can step in soon.

Here is hoping Goossens has a speedy and successful recovery. 2017 is not completely out of the picture, but I’m not counting on any Goose sightings for the rest of the season.

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