When he was brought in on loan from Huddersfield Town, Martin Paterson was expected to be an impact player in the Lions’ first season. Injuries have dampened those aspirations, but after nearly two months, “Pato” is back.
Paterson’s MLS debut was delayed after sustaining a hamstring injury in the preseason and missed the first two months of the campaign. He was eased into the lineup over the ensuing couple of weeks, logging 37 minutes against LA, San Jose and Columbus, but suffered an injury to his MCL that put him on the shelf yet again.
It was disappointing for Paterson, who was brought in to bring experience to a young core of strikers. Paterson, 28, has played in the top three tiers of English football and scored four goals in 26 appearances for Burnley in the Premier League in 2009-10. Paterson has also been capped 22 times and scored three goals in international play for Northern Ireland.
“It’s obviously been a really frustrating time for Pato. We just hope that we can get some more time in him,” said head coach Adrian Heath.
When they needed an offensive boost on Sunday, the Lions turned to Paterson. He was inserted for the final 16 minutes and registered his first shot of the season. In the 83rd minute, Kaká lofted a ball in for Pato, who directed a diving header wide of the post.
This season hasn’t been what he hoped for, but Paterson’s reappearance in the selection is a step in the right direction. There’s still 13 games left in the season, and Paterson’s experience in these types of games will be a huge asset to a team striving for a playoff spot.
“The important part is what we can get out of him between now and the end of the season because I have no doubt that if he could play regularly, he’d score goals. We need some input between now and the end of the season from him.”