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Joseph questionable for D.C. United trip

New England midfielder Shalrie Joseph looks set to miss his second consecutive match with a right hip flexor strain when the Revolution visits D.C. United on Saturday night.

Joseph sustained the injury two weeks ago as the Revolution wrapped up a preseason trip to North Carolina and missed out on last Saturday's season-opening 1-0 loss at Los Angeles.

Revolution coach Steve Nicol held out hope this week that Joseph could recover in time to feature against United, but expressed doubt that his influential midfielder would be able to take up his typical role in central midfield. Nicol told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday that he wanted to assess Joseph's fitness on Friday morning before deciding whether to include him in the squad for Saturday's match.

“We were hoping he would be fit, but he is struggling,” Nicol said. “I'm guessing next weekend's an absolute certainty, but this weekend is questionable.”

If Joseph is unable to play against United, Nicol said he would look to those players who started last week to raise the level of their games to compensate for his absence.

“We obviously miss him, but any team would miss him,” Nicol said. “The guys who started last week now have a good idea of what is coming and what is expected of them. We're looking to progress from where we were last weekend.”

Joseph isn't the only player expected to miss out. Long-term injury victims Matt Reis [left shoulder and knee surgeries] and Taylor Twellman [head and neck symptoms] remain sidelined, while Nico Colaluca [left knee sprain] and Edgaras Jankauskas [right calf strain] are also unavailable. Mauricio Castro will serve the second match of a two-game ban incurred during the second leg of last year's Eastern Conference semifinals defeat to Chicago.

New England defender Cory Gibbs told MLSsoccer.com that he and his teammates need to push the lingering injury concerns to one side and focus on picking up a victory against United.

“It's not only about being away and having injuries,” Gibbs said. “We have to look over it and we have. As a unit, we know whoever has to step up has to do well and I think that's something we'll improve upon in D.C. this weekend. We want three points.”