USA striker Brian Ching has given national team boss Bob Bradley a boost by returning to training following a hamstring injury.
2010 FIFA World Cup™ hopeful Ching, with 10 goals in 43 internationals, had been injured during the Houston Dynamo's opening home game of the new Major League Soccer season on 1 April and had been told by doctors he would be out for up to six weeks.
With the United States having to submit their preliminary 30-man squad to FIFA on 11 May, Ching, 31, had been on the clock to prove his fitness to Bradley, whose striking options have also been hampered by long-term injury to Sochaux striker Charlie Davies.
I'm recovering pretty well. Hopefully, I can continue at this rate and I'll be back sooner than I expected.
Ching, though, returned to training with the Dynamo this week, kicking a ball for the first time and declaring himself happy with his progress.
"I'm still limited," Ching told the Houston Chronicle. "I still cannot swing my left leg with too much force right now.
"We're two weeks out. If you said I'd be running and doing all this when I first hurt it I would have been sceptical. I'm recovering pretty well. Hopefully, I can continue at this rate and I'll be back sooner than I expected," he said.