Saer Sene returns from ACL surgery to provide a spark in Seattle

Last year’s leading scorer makes first appearance of 2013

SEATTLE – Saer Sene made his eagerly-anticipated return on Saturday afternoon at CenturyLink Field, coming off the bench to play the final 16 minutes of the New England Revolution’s 0-0 draw with Seattle Sounders FC.

It was Sene’s first appearance since suffering a torn ACL last August. From the date of his surgery in mid-September, Sene returned to the field in just under seven months.

“It’s amazing,” Sene said. “It’s a very, very special feeling to get back on the field.”

Although it was only a brief stint, Sene showed glimpses of the ability which helped him register a team-leading 11 goals last season. The Frenchman partnered Jerry Bengtson up top for the final quarter of an hour and although the duo didn’t generate a shot on target, they did provide a bit more menace going forward.

“I thought our subs came in and did an excellent job,” said head coach Jay Heaps, also praising the contribution of Andy Dorman. “You could see we were a little bit more aggressive offensively when [Saer] came in. That’s what we need to slowly bring on from him. But a good first step for him.”

As Sene continues to regain his fitness and sharpness, he’ll be depended upon to spark a Revolution attack which has struggled to score goals early this season. The Revs have now failed to register a shot on target in two of their past three matches and have been held scoreless for a club record 388 consecutive minutes.

While it would be unrealistic to expect Sene to single-handedly change the Revolution’s fortunes going forward, his mere presence on the field does provide a boost for his teammates.

“It’s huge,” said Chris Tierney. “It’s a boost psychologically for us because we’ve seen how hard he’s been working since the injury and it’s a great feeling to have him back. There’s no doubt it helps us soccer-wise, as well. He’s a top-class striker in this league and the closer he gets to full fitness, the better it’ll be for us.”

While Sene admits he’ll need consistent game action to reach full fitness, he felt strong in his first appearance on Saturday afternoon and is now ready to take the next step on the road to a complete return.

“I was feeling very, very good,” Sene said. “After the game, I wanted to play more. I think this is a good step forward for the next game, but I’m happy and I thank God to come out of the game healthy.”