FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Left back Gabriel Somi has made a full recovery from the head injury he suffered 10 days ago and will be available for selection when the New England Revolution host league-leading New York City FC on Saturday afternoon at Gillette Stadium (1:30 p.m., TICKETS).
Somi’s abbreviated home debut lasted just 17 minutes as he was forced off in the early stages of the Revs’ dramatic win over the Colorado Rapids on March 10, replaced by veteran Chris Tierney, who ultimately scored the game-winning goal deep into stoppage time.
But Somi, who said he’d never before suffered a concussion, has been able to resume full training this week, and he’s experienced no ill effects since returning to the field.
“Thankfully, I’m feeling great,” Somi said on Tuesday after a chilly morning training session. “The first few days were a bit tough – I had a bit of a headache – but other than that, these (last) couple of days I’ve been progressing really well, and finally I can train with the team.”
Head coach Brad Friedel praised the Revolution’s medical and athletic training staffs for their handling of Somi’s progression, noting that player safety is always the top priority, particularly when dealing with the unpredictable nature of head injuries.
“We didn’t rush him, that’s for certain,” said Friedel. “We let the medical staff do what they needed to do, and Gabriel, we told him from the get-go to be as honest as he can be.
“We don’t want to have any bad head injuries in the game. We don’t want one of our players to sustain any side effects or serious effects going forward in their lives. The medical staff did a very good job – they were prudent every step of the way – and Gabriel’s good.”
Somi admitted that he “can’t wait to play” in front of the home fans after seeing his Gillette Stadium debut cut short, but he’ll have competition for a starting place from Tierney, who was solid in relief.
Regardless of who lines up at left back on Saturday, visiting NYCFC will present a stern test as one of only two remaining teams (along with expansion side LAFC) to boast a perfect record.
“We’re looking forward to it,” said Somi. “It will be a challenge, but we know we are strong at home, and hopefully we’ll go out and try to take three points in all of our games.”