Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By IVES GALARCEP
U.S. Men’s National Team captain Carlos Bocanegra has been sidelined for three weeks since suffering a torn hamstring in the U.S. friendly against Russia last month, but he is close to returning to action for Spanish second-division side Racing Santander.
Bocanegra started running this past weekend, and while he will miss his team’s match against Real Madrid B this weekend, he believes he will be available for selection when Racing Santander faces Sabadell on Dec. 16th.
“It’s feeling a lot better and I should be ready to roll next week,” Bocanegra told SBI in a phone conversation on Wednesday. “I won’t play this weekend but hopefully I’ll be back to full training with the team next week.”
Bocanegra has enjoyed a smooth transition to life in Spain, and has been impressed with the quality of play in the Spanish second division.
“The level is good and there’s definitely some real solid teams in the league, and some teams that are average,”Bocanegra said. “Technically it’s a very good league. It’s not as combative as the Scottish League. I’m able to get more touches on the ball and adapting to a new style of play has been good.”
Bocanegra admitted that he nearly made a move to Major League Soccer this past summer, and identified the Vancouver Whitecaps and Toronto FC as teams he was in talks with. Bocanegra revealed that he was very close to a move to TFC before the deal fell through.
“The league is getting a lot better and it would have been cool to go back,” said Bocanegra, who played for the Chicago Fire from 2000 to 2004. “I have one more year on my contract after this year, but it would be good to back and finish up there.”
If Bocanegra can play on Dec. 16th, he would have the chance for two matches before the Spanish winter break. Barring any setbacks, the 33-year-old centerback should be available for selection when the U.S. national team resumes World Cup qualifying on Feb. 6th in Honduras.