After nine matches off the pitch, a handful of minutes back on it might not have seemed like much to Bobby Convey.
But for Sporting Kansas City's veteran left winger, Saturday's late appearance in a scoreless road draw against New York was still a chance to get back into meaningful game action.
“Let's be honest – I just played for five minutes,” Convey, who had been out since suffering a hamstring strain in early August, told MLSsoccer.com after Monday's training session. “It's just being in there at the end, getting the result. You don't think, at that point, about going into the game and doing too much. It's just about getting a result on the road.”
And, manager Peter Vermes said, about getting Convey back into full match form for what Sporting hope will be a lengthy postseason run.
“It was good to get him a few minutes, get him out there and let him run around a little bit, get his feet wet again,” Vermes told MLSsoccer.com by telephone after Saturday's draw. “I wanted to do it a little bit earlier, but that's the way it goes.”
While it was brief, Convey's return to action against the Red Bulls was far from a meaningless mop-up stint. The final minutes of the match were marked by furious attacks from the home side, who were trying to take all three points and avoid being shut out by Sporting for the second time in as many home appearances.
“That was a real battle there at the end,” Vermes said. “I didn't want to put him into anything that was crazy, but I thought, 'Look, it's time.' We needed him. He's been through that situation a million times, and we needed that experience on the field.”