MLS Countdown: Fractured jaw sidelines Kudo indefinitely

The Whitecaps striker Masato Kudo suffered a fractured jaw in a collision with Chicago goalkeeper Matt Lampson Wednesday and will undergo surgery. His recovery period is not yet known.

In the 11th minute, Kudo chased a long ball played by midfielder Matias Laba and collided with the onrushing Lampson near the edge of the penalty area. Players on both teams rushed to assist Kudo, whose bloodied face drew the attention of Fire defender Joao Meira and midfielder Razvan Cocis. They made sure his airway was clear as medical attendants arrived. Lampson caught the ball cleanly just before the collision and wasn’t injured on the play.

Kudo. 29, bit his lip and tongue when his head collided with Lampson’s shoulder and needed several minutes to recover sufficiently to be carted off the field. He was signed by Vancouver in December after playing seven years in the J-League with Hitachi Kashiwa Reysol and had scored his first goal and registered his first assist in MLS in a 2-1 defeat of Portland the previous week.

The fearsome incident dampened the Whitecaps’ mood despite a spectacular bicycle-kick goal by Blas Perez in the final minutes that produced a 2-1 victory. The Whitecaps departed Thursday for a game against Toronto FC, for which head coach Carl Robinson once played, on Saturday at BMO Field.

“Sometimes, it's not about football,” said Robinson. “I let the guys know, it’s a special day for Blas, but make sure you all send a message to Masato and his wife, because he’s a massive part of this football club and he’ll feel that we’re right behind him.”

LAMPARD TRAINS, WILL TRAVEL. The tattered MLS career of Frank Lampard hit a couple of milestones Wednesday.

He trained with the full team for the first time this season and has been named to the traveling squad, provisionally, for games at Portland Sunday and Toronto FC Wednesday. Since he’s played zero competitive minutes in 2016, these are noteworthy developments.

He suffered a calf injury in preseason that limited him to one appearance in February and he’s been limited to working out on his own or with a trainer since then. He put in 30 minutes with the full team and was to undergo further evaluation and training on Friday.

“He’s getting close,” said NYC FC head coach Patrick Vieira, whose team has rebounded from a barren spell to win its last two matches.

Lampard, 37, fought calf and quad injuries last year after arriving midway through his first MLS season, managing to score three goals in his 10 appearances. He joined NYC FC for the start of preseason training and has been hampered by the calf problem as the season unfolded.

Also on Wednesday, news broke that Lampard will work as a commentator for BBC broadcasts of the European Championships, which kick off June 10. Club officials have stated the broadcast commitment won’t force him to miss any MLS games nor fly to France, where the tournament is being played. But an already disgruntled fan base isn’t enthused by the news.

PROPERTY TAX BILL PASSES IN MINNESOTA. Unlike the lurching efforts to get MLS into Miami, steady progress is underway in Minnesota.

A $150 million stadium project in St. Paul moved along Wednesday when the state Senate voted, 37-30, to approve a bill that includes property-tax exemptions for the site.

At least two more floor votes will be conducted this week on other aspects of the project formulated by the ownership group of Minnesota United FC, which hopes to complete its 21,500-seat stadium in time for the 2018 season.

The group is also seeking approval of a sales-tax break on construction materials and a liquor license. It hopes to break ground on the stadium this site this summer. The team is investigating contingency plans if the stadium isn't ready by the start of the 2018 MLS season.

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