FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England midfielder Kalifa Cissé presents the most significant fitness doubt for coach Jay Heaps ahead of Saturday's home opener against Sporting Kansas City.
Cissé missed the 1-0 defeat at Philadelphia on Saturday with right groin tightness. The former Bristol City and Reading midfielder trained off to the side on Wednesday as he attempted to work his way back to full fitness in time to reclaim his starting spot before the weekend.
“He's been fully at training,” Revolution coach Jay Heaps told MLSsoccer.com. “We're just being smart with the weather and the cold not to lose too much there.”
If Cissé – currently listed as questionable on the club's injury report – is not ready to start on Saturday, then either Scott Caldwell or Andy Dorman will likely take his place in central midfield. Caldwell earned the nod for the trip to PPL Park and impressed on his debut, but Dorman also turned heads after replacing the injured Clyde Simms at the interval.
Simms (left hamstring tightness) and fellow injury concern Matt Reis (left knee inflammation) both participated fully on Wednesday in their bids to take their usual spots in the lineup. Both players are listed as questionable, but their return to the training field bodes well for their availability against Sporting.
Reis' return would force Heaps to choose between the veteran goalkeeper and Bobby Shuttleworth for the lone place between the sticks. Shuttleworth started in Chester after Reis missed out with that knee complaint.
The prospect of making that decision and sorting through other quandaries created by returning players underscores the improved depth within the ranks, according to Heaps.
“This year, it's a good thing to have depth because guys have to come out and perform out here as well as when the lights come on,” Heaps said.