FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Xavier Kouassi’s heroic effort to nod home a last-gasp equalizer in last week’s 2-2 draw with New York City FC will unfortunately be the New England Revolution midfielder’s final action for at least a few games.
Kouassi, who suffered a left quad injury just minutes before rising to meet Kelyn Rowe’s inch-perfect cross at Yankee Stadium, will be sidelined for approximately four-to-six weeks, likely keeping him out through the end of June.
Replacing the influential Kouassi on the field is no small task, but Revolution head coach Jay Heaps was thrilled with the efforts of Gershon Koffie, Scott Caldwell and Kelyn Rowe in central midfield roles in last weekend’s 3-0 win over league-leading Toronto FC.
“There are players that are always willing to step up and be ready to go, and I think that showed on Saturday,” said Heaps. “Everyone’s continuing to put the work in.”
Kouassi’s closest like-for-like replacement is Koffie, reacquired by the Revs just one month ago in a move that proved to be timely for Heaps and his staff.
“We were thrilled to be able to get Gershon back, because he can play with Kouassi, and he can fill in and be a like-for-like (replacement),” Heaps said. “He was someone that I was really disappointed not to close a deal with at the end of last year. We were fortunate to be able to get him when we did.”
While the Revs will need to replace Kouassi on the field for the next few weeks, they can’t replace his presence in the locker room, and Heaps said it will be important for Kouassi to continue bringing his infectious enthusiasm to work even while sidelined.
“The main thing is keeping him in the group. He’s a really big presence in the locker room from a personality standpoint, so we’ve got to keep him engaged,” Heaps said. “I think he’s key for our group and our mentality.”