With Copa break on the horizon, Revs “going to be cautious” with injured Koffie

Gershon Koffie vs. LA Galaxy

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Just as the New England Revolution were nearing full health another key piece fell victim to the injury bug last weekend as Gershon Koffie suffered a right knee sprain.

New England’s central midfield stalwart landed awkwardly after cutting across FC Dallas forward Tesho Akindele to win a foul in the 22nd minute of last Saturday’s loss. From that set piece, Lee Nguyen delivered a cross to Juan Agudelo for the Revolution’s opening goal.

Despite being in obvious pain, Koffie attempted to soldier on for the next several minutes, and even played a role in the Revolution’s second goal as he kept an attack alive before Nguyen was fouled inside the box, winning the penalty that he ultimately converted.

Koffie was unable to continue, however, as he was replaced by Diego Fagundez in the 28th minute, immediately after Nguyen’s goal.

“He took a funny knock there,” head coach Jay Heaps said of Koffie’s injury. “We’re hoping that it’s a quick turnaround, but at the same time, we’re going to be cautious with him.”

That caution likely means Koffie will sit out Saturday night’s meeting with Seattle Sounders FC – the Revolution’s last game before breaking from league play until June 18. That extended hiatus should give the Revs a chance to let Koffie recover before reassessing him towards the end of the break.

Should Koffie be sidelined this weekend the Revs will miss his contributions on both sides of the ball, and Scott Caldwell will likely find himself playing alongside a different partner in central midfield.

“Gersh is a phenomenal player all around,” said Caldwell. “He keeps the ball. In the attack, he can get forward and he can create stuff, but he’s just a hard defensive player, as well, and really wins a ton of balls in there.

“It’s really tough to lose him, playing beside him, but we have players that will step up and are ready to go. We’ll be ready to move on this week.”

Even with a different partner Caldwell said his role doesn’t change much; just slight adjustments based on who’s playing alongside him. Kelyn Rowe dropped into central midfield when Koffie went off against FC Dallas, while Daigo Kobayashi took over midway through the second half. Homegrown player Zachary Herivaux is another option in the middle, as is third-year pro Steve Neumann.

If it is Rowe who’s called upon to partner Caldwell, he’ll be ready for the challenge.

“When I play in central midfield, I have Scotty and the guys on the backline talking to me the whole time,” Rowe said. “It’s easy to get used to these things.”