Seattle Sounders FC’s designated player Freddie Ljungberg should finally be fit enough to make his Major League Soccer debut this weekend. Ljungberg underwent hip surgery in the offseason, but joined full practices this week, and should be prepared for a role off the bench.
“I think we are going to try to play on the weekend; I think that’s the plan,” Ljungberg told mlsnet.com. “How much it will be — that’s a different question. We will play a little bit and see how it feels in a match situation.
“I don’t think I will start because we want to make sure it feels right. Maybe I’ll play a shorter time; we will see this week how I feel. So far this week, it feels good.”
Ljungberg has not played a competitive match since the group stages of Euro 2008 last June. However, he has expressed his happiness with the speed of his recovery and played for around 30 minutes in last Friday’s reserve match against Concordia University. The aerobic activity was not an issue; making sure he could maneuver without pain was his main concern.
“Because I had a hip surgery it’s more twists and turns. When you do it once — ‘oh, I can do that’ — then you get more confidence in doing it and then the next time you can do it quicker,” Ljungberg said. “I’m not the biggest guy in the world, so it means quite a lot that I can move fast and now in my head know that it won’t hurt.”
When he finally takes the field, Ljungberg believes he will be deployed in as a central midfield where he can maximize his influence on the game.
“The coach wants me to have the ball a lot and control the game a lot, so that’s probably how it will be,” Ljungberg said.
Seattle host Real Salt Lake on Saturday for the team’s second ever MLS game. Ljungberg sat the opening game of the season against the New York Red Bulls, but his team ran out 3-0 winners without him.