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San Jose centerback Harold Cummings shakes off injury concerns, prepares for Philadelphia Union

Mar 31, 2018; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Magnus Eriksson (7) reacts after defender Harold Cummings (31) goes down on a play against the New York City FC during the second half at Avaya Stadium. (Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports)

SAN JOSE, Calif. — As Harold Cummings lay motionless on turf, the sold out crowd at Avaya Stadium went silent. Magnus Eriksson waved furiously toward the sideline as trainers sprinted to the attention of the San Jose Earthquakes centerback. Other teammates rushed to his aid as well, surrounding the defender and checking on his well being.

It was a scary moment, to be sure, but Cummings was able to get to his feet and leave the field on his own accord. Forward Quincy Amarikwa entered the game in his stead, while the Panamanian international continued to receive treatment on the Quakes bench, and the team went back to battling New York City FC.

San Jose lost 2-1 to the visitors on the scoreboard, but fortunately they did not lose the long term services of Cummings due to injury. By Monday, the centerback was training with his teammates and preparing for this weekend’s match against the Philadelphia Union.

“Yes, yes, he is good,” Earthquakes coach Mikael Stahre confirmed Tuesday, indicating Cummings would be available for selection in Philly.

The collision between Cummings and NYCFC midfielder Yangel Herrera, one that earned the Venezuelan midfielder a yellow card, came at a point in the game when the Quakes were down a goal and furiously looking for an equalizer. Stahre emphasized that the break in the action due to Cummings’ fall didn’t necessitate his removal from the game; rather, the coach used the opportunity to make a tactical change.

“It was about the momentum,” Stahre said. “We changed the shape when we took Cummings out and put Quincy in. Our forwards were creating chances all the time. I trust the players, and we have a really good team.”

Mar 31, 2018; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Earthquakes defender Yeferson Quintana (30) celebrates after scoring a goal against the New York City FC during the first half at Avaya Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

He may have been shaken up on the play, but Cummings did not suffer a concussion and was not subject to protocols designed to determine a player’s readiness to return to action. Instead, Cummings, who is hoping to be called into Panama’s national team for this summer’s World Cup after missing all of last season with a leg injury, wants to put the loss to NYCFC behind him and get to work helping the Quakes prepare for Saturday’s road game against Philadelphia.

“The preparations have been good,” Cummings said through a translator. “We are working on building up the pressure and being more aggressive so that when we enter the field, we are ready to play with intensity and get three points, at least one, when playing away from home.”

The Earthquakes have relied heavily on Cummings to anchor their defense, and though the team has allowed seven goals in three games, the Panamanian is making progress in his return to MLS action. He still has room to improve, however, but at least he’ll be at full strength in his efforts to help the Quakes halt a two game losing streak and return to their winning ways.

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