FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – For the New England Revolution, an off weekend is a double-edged sword.
On one hand the Revs are one of Major League Soccer’s hottest teams, having won four of their last five games as they continue their quest to clinch a fourth consecutive postseason berth. In that respect they’d prefer to play this weekend instead of having a bye for the international break.
But on the other hand the Revs have been worn down by the grind of the first 32 games of the regular season, and a few days to rest and recover ahead of the final two matches could be beneficial, particularly for players who’ve been forced to miss time in recent weeks.
“You just want to get to the business,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “There’s apprehension in it, because I think guys want to get back as soon as we can.
“But at the same time, it comes at a good time for us to get healthy. I think we do have some injuries that an extra week could really give us a lot more opportunities (to heal), and a lot more players available.”
Gershon Koffie (three games) and Jose Goncalves (two games) have both been sidelined by ankle injuries since mid-September, while Je-Vaughn Watson (groin) and Bobby Shuttleworth (back) both returned to the game-day 18 last weekend against Sporting Kansas City but didn’t feature.
Kelyn Rowe, meanwhile, missed the Revolution’s trip to Columbus two weeks ago after spending three nights in the hospital with an infection in his small intestine, and continues to regain full strength and fitness despite returning to the starting lineup last weekend.
The break will serve to benefit all those players – not to mention anyone else dealing with minor knocks – and there is hope that Heaps will have a full complement of players to choose from when the Revs return to action next weekend in Chicago.
“We want to make sure that [the players] go into the two or three days off that we have over the weekend, to make sure that those guys have spiked up (their fitness) and almost had the same type of week as if we had a game,” Heaps said. “With that said, we also want to make sure if there are guys that are injured, that they get themselves taken care of so we can go into next week – a little bit of a longer week with a Sunday game – to make sure that we have a full roster of players to play Chicago.”