FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England Revolution head coach Jay Heaps has classified captain Lee Nguyen as “day-to-day” ahead of Saturday afternoon’s home opener against Orlando City SC.
Nguyen limped off before the hour-mark of last weekend’s season opener in Colorado, having suffered a left ankle contusion after taking multiple knocks to the area either side of halftime.
The 30-year-old attacker didn’t train on Tuesday, but Heaps said Nguyen’s status has improved in the past two days and his availability for Saturday’s game will be evaluated later in the week.
“It was painful for him in the match, but (it’s been) a good couple days of rehab,” Heaps said. “We’ll see. Right now it’s day-to-day, but we’ll see as the week goes on.”
Veteran midfielder Daigo Kobayashi replaced Nguyen for the final half-hour at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, pushing Juan Agudelo into a more advanced role alongside Kei Kamara, and shifting Kelyn Rowe toward the point of New England’s midfield diamond.
Diego Fagundez is also capable of operating in a central attacking role, while Teal Bunbury, Femi Hollinger-Janzen and Brian Wright offer further offensive options should Nguyen be unavailable for Saturday’s meeting with Orlando.
“I think it’s important that we’re versatile enough,” Heaps said. “When Lee went out it was a very easy transition to put Juan a little higher and also bring in Daigo, and have Kelyn and Daigo kind of co-lead the attacking midfield position.
“But what’s important is that we – no matter what the situation – have that front five continue to move. Even when it’s tight and the space isn’t there, we have to find moments in the game to create space and create movement.”