Tyson Wahl hasn’t had to deal with too many injuries during his career, so when he was sidelined with a concussion following the international friendly against Veracruz on May 11, it was a new experience for the Columbus Crew SC defender.
“It has been a little bit more frustrating than I thought it’d be,” Wahl says. “I definitely have some more sympathy for those that deal with them and those that have longer lasting effects. It’s a tough injury; it’s a strange one that you’re not used to dealing with.”
Prior to his concussion, Wahl played well in his five matches (four starts) this season, helping the Black & Gold to a 2-1-1 record during that stretch.
“I was really happy with how I was playing and I was really confident with how those games went. So it came at a frustrating time, of course, but you can’t control all these things,” he says.
Wahl returned to training this week and says he feels sharp and ready to step up again. His return is a welcome one, particularly since fellow center back Gaston Sauro is expected to miss four to five months with a PCL sprain.
“It’s a tough loss for our team right now, but that’s why we have depth and that’s why we have guys like myself,” he says. “I think that’s why Gregg [Berhalter] respects my game. I think he trusts that he can play me in these types of situations.”
With Sauro’s absence, Wahl and Captain Michael Parkhurst are the only natural center backs available to Berhalter currently. But midfielder Rodrigo Saravia showed against Toronto FC that he can fill that role, as well.
“We’ll miss that size and aggressiveness and proactive defending,” Berhalter says of Sauro, “but whether its Tyson or Rodrigo, or whoever we may bring in, we’ll find someone capable and these guys are good players.”
The Black & Gold welcome Western Conference side Real Salt Lake to MAPFRE Stadium at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. With one of the top teams in the League coming to Columbus, Wahl says that a balanced attack and defense will be the key to three points against RSL and to success in weeks to come.
“I think it’s just getting that balance of can we be as dynamic as we have been at times going forward, and as dangerous as we have been at times going forward, but also as compact as we have been recently defensively,” Wahl says. “So can we put the two together, and I think that’s how we’re really going to start to win games.”