Chicago Fire's Bastian Schweinsteiger sets return from hip injury for July 22

Bastian Schweinsteiger has said he expects to play in the Chicago Fire's July 22 match against New York City FC after a right hip injury kept him out of Wednesday's 2-2 draw against the Portland Timbers.

"I'm 100 percent ready for the next match," Schweinsteiger told The Chicago Tribune in a phone interview from Europe. "If we would have played in Portland on Saturday, I would have been able to play."

Schweinsteiger sat out for four days on the advice of team doctors and coach Veljko Paunovic due to pain in his right hip, which flared up during the first half of the Fire's 4-0 home win on Saturday against the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Paunovic had told reporters that he had initially thought Schweinsteiger would be ready before the Timbers match, but then admitted that the player required further evaluation. Schweinsteiger did not travel with the team to Portland for the team's third match in eight days.

The midfielder told the Chicago newspaper on Thursday that he was not ready to play the night before on short rest. He said that the upcoming MLS break for the CONCACAF Gold Cup would allow him extended time to return to fitness.

"Pauno and the docs made the right decision," Schweinsteiger said. "I always want to play and help, especially when we're at the top of the league. It was not easy to accept the injury and to not play, but it was the right decision, and we all agreed to it. I was very happy that we could stay in the position we're on into the break."

Schweinsteiger, who turns 33 on Aug. 1, had played in all 15 of the Fire's MLS matches since joining the club in March. He also played the full 120 minutes in their U.S. Open Cup defeat against FC Cincinnati on June 28. In all competitions, he played the full match 12 times before getting hurt on Saturday.

"It was a little bit tight," he said. "One of my passes, I had a different angle, and I just felt something."

The Fire were ahead 3-0 in the 43rd minute when Schweinsteiger experienced the discomfort.

"I straight said to Pauno, 'Maybe I have to step out,'" he said. "I had a feeling if I would keep on playing, maybe it would have gotten [worse]. But I'm ready for the next game 100 percent."

Schweinsteiger has scored twice and assisted on five goals for the Fire, who extended their unbeaten streak in MLS matches to 11. Their 38 points this season make them tied with Toronto FC for most in the Eastern Conference and league.

"We are not done yet," Schweinsteiger said. "There are still things where we can improve. If we want to stay in that position, we have to improve. But so far, so good. I'm very happy. It's a good feeling not only for me and the club but also for the city."

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