Wil Trapp hasn't missed much time to injury in his career. In fact, it took a red-card suspension -- not a physical ailment -- to snap Trapp's streak of 24 straight starts. You can understand, then, why the Crew midfielder's recent knee problem and the three League matches it caused him to miss have been so frustrating.
"You want to be playing," said Trapp. "Anytime you're not, or you can't, it's the worst. There's nothing worse."
There is good news for the Gahanna native, however, who returned to League action on Sunday, June 29 vs. FC Dallas. After playing 68 minutes against the Hoops, Trapp reported that he was feeling well.
"There was definitely some mental frustration in the slowness and not being quite as sharp as I need to be on the ball and on the field," said Trapp. "Fitness level is still something I need to work on, but it's always great to be back on the field and playing."
After about a month away from the pitch, Trapp's road back began last Wednesday, June 25, with 48 minutes in Chicago for the Crew's Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match against the Fire. That outing was intended as a reintroduction of sorts, but was extended by virtue of the match going to extra time. Despite the extra 30 minutes of play, the midfielder said that all went well and that the experience was beneficial in helping him return to match action.
"I thought [Chicago] was good. You never know in an Open Cup game what's going to happen, but those are movements when you need to build that fitness level and that baseline, and I think it helped a lot."
The primary concern for Trapp now is regaining that fitness level – the ability to run a full 90 minutes and not worry about fatigue or reinjury. That's something that will come with increased training and game minutes, but after one week of reintroduction to the field, Trapp is trending in the right direction.
"I think the Open Cup game in Chicago helped as the initial game to get the jitters out. The game against Dallas, I didn't really have to overthink anything. It was just hot. It was one of those days, in the middle of the day. I definitely need to work on the fitness level."
One of the positives with Trapp's injury has been the timing – the 2014 FIFA World Cup break has enabled the Crew midfielder to miss fewer matches than he would have had the knee issue occured in any other month. As the 2013 U.S. Soccer Young Male Athlete of the Year, Trapp has said he's enjoyed watching the FIFA World Cup and has even used it for a bit of inspiration.
"It's been wonderful. We get to watch world-class players every single day. I try to watch it as a fan but also as a critic a little bit, to take away things that I can use and help in my game."
Speaking before the United States' loss to Belgium, Trapp also said that he was not surprised his countrymen were doing better than expected in the tournament.
"You have to give a little credit to Jürgen and the tough decisions he's made. They've panned out. The team looks cohesive, they're working hard for each other, they're scoring goals and putting together good performances against good teams."