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Fire lose Goossens for ‘5 to 6 months’ to ankle injury

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Men in Red’s depth thinned with loss of Dutch all-rounder

MLS: Chicago Fire at Columbus Crew SC
Goossen’s inspirational all-round performance ended by a stoppage-time injury; he’ll be out until fall
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

For John Goossens, Saturday in Columbus was a suitable representative of his career writ large: Starting with uncertain footing, the Dutch midfielder grew into the game, combining well, showing a technical quality and intelligence that allowed him to fill multiple roles in the different phases of the game. Goossens variously man-marked Federico Higuain, nutmegged Justin Meram, sent David Accam galloping onto goal and lashed a trademark dipping volley toward goal over the course of a bravura 90 minutes.

By the fifth minute of second-half stoppage, everyone was convinced: John Goossens belongs on the field. We’ll have to make room for him. Arturo, get ready to fight for minutes. And then came the other notable aspect of the career of John Goossens, footballer - a grisly tendency for the man’s tendons to turn against him. Responsibly seeing out a road draw, Goossens sprinted flat-out into the Fire’s defensive right flank to knock down an attempted cross from deep - sprinted with a competitor’s desperation, flat-out, in the 95th minute, and blocked that cross, only to feel his ankle give in what had to be a disconcertingly familiar fashion.

Goossens will miss “five to six months,” the Fire announced. Surgery will be involved, and recovery times are always uncertain.

We at Hot Time wish John Goossens nothing but the best, and hope for his swift recovery.

Hot (Time) take

And just like that, the Fire’s depth across midfield was ... gone. Goossens was the first substitute all across midfield, a guy who could adjust his game to a number of different roles. Chicago brass may be high on the potential of Daniel Johnson, Djordje Mihalovic and Drew Conner, but their total of 12 seconds professional experience doesn’t paint the picture of a team ready to challenge the pecking order in the East.

The hope is that this forces Paunovic’s hand in the near-term toward giving real minutes to the younger players on the roster, if only through pure necessity. The only experience further forward than defense left on the bench are wing forwards Luis Solignac and Joey Calistri - in the middle, there’s Conner and Mihalovic and that’s about it.

Gentlemen, if you’re good enough, you’re old enough. Get in there.