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CJ Sapong is back and ready to help the Chicago Fire

Plus: An unofficial update on Djordje Mihailovic’s injury status

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Chicago Fire
Chicago Fire forward CJ Sapong
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

When CJ Sapong came on for the final minutes of the Chicago Fire’s 2-2 draw with Columbus Crew last weekend, it marked the first time he had played since the team’s final match at the MLS is Back Tournament in July.

The forward had to deal with a personal matter, and then had to quarantine before he could rejoin the team, causing him to miss five matches. During that time, Sapong announced on Instagram his fiancée gave birth to a baby.

But now he’s back, he feels good, and he’s ready to help the Fire this Saturday when the team faces an improved Orlando City team on the road (6:30 p.m. CT, WGN & ESPN+).

Sapong said it was hard being away.

“Very difficult. Very unusual,” he said in a video released by the club. “I think we’re all at a point where we want to do what we can to get on the field and get results for the team. I think this time around I kind of just put my head down and tried to mimic as much of the game-like situations that I was. Coming back to training with the guys, I felt like I was at a good enough fitness level where I could get sharp, and obviously have fun with everybody again.”

Sapong, who was last season’s leading scorer for the Fire, also missed matches at the beginning of the season while dealing with an injury. The team has created plenty of scoring chances this season, but has struggled to finish them. Having Sapong consistently back with the team should help. He didn’t get enough minutes against Columbus to make a huge impact, but as Sapong works toward full fitness, that will likely change.

“It was my first game at Soldier Field,” Sapong said of his brief appearance against the Crew. “Obviously, with the build up to that, it was good to hit that milestone. I felt good movement-wise, energy-wise. Obviously, I always want to do what I can to help the team, so that’s what I’m looking to build on for the next game.”

ALSO: We should get an official update on Djordje Mihailovic’s injury when Raphael Wicky meets with reporters Friday. Mihailovic left the match against the Crew in the first half with an apparent ankle injury, and Wicky said after the match the midfielder was heading to get a scan. But, in a video released by the club Wednesday, Mihailovic appeared to be involved in training, which is a good sign.