photo by Jose L. Argueta/ISIphotos.com
By CARL SETTERLUND
The New England Revolution travel to play Chicago on Saturday, and it’s still unclear if the team will have MLS Defender of the Year Jose Goncalves at its disposal.
Head coach Jay Heaps had no updates to provide on his captain’s status after Goncalves was injured last weekend on a 38th-minute tackle that earned Houston’s Ricardo Clark a yellow card. Although Clark clipped Goncalves at shin level, the Swiss-Portuguese defender fell awkwardly and injured his right quad.
“He’s still being evaluated,” Heaps said Wednesday morning. “These are the things you go through and right now he’s just in the training room getting worked on.”
Fortunately for New England – and this is one place to give general manager Mike Burns credit – last year’s trade-up to select defender Andrew Farrell at No. 1 overall in the MLS SuperDraft has worked out swimmingly.
The Revs’ primary right back has slid over to a central role twice this season, including in this past Saturday’s match when he partnered with A.J. Soares on Saturday to lead a back line that held Houston without a shot on goal.
“I think playing that position in college has helped me now translate that to the next level,” Farrell said, adding he’s up for the switch, “when I’m needed there.”
Here are more notes from the Revolution’s camp:
ATTACK STILL LOOKING FOR BREAKTHROUGH
It’s been a quiet season so far for the players expected to carry the New England offense this season, as new acquisition Teal Bunbury, and last year’s top two scorers, Diego Fagundez and Kelyn Rowe, are all still looking for their first goals.
A year after netting 13 times, the now-goalless Fagundez leads the team with 19 shots, with seven of them going on target. Bunbury is second in both categories with 14 shots and four on net. Rowe, meanwhile, has played in only one of the last five games as the 22-year-old attempts to recover from his hamstring woes.
“Once we play a little more together I think we’re going to find that chemistry and we’ll get on a roll and score a lot of goals,” Fagundez said.
The cool-mannered, 19-year-old Fagundez insists he’s not pressing yet.
“If a goal comes, it’s going to come,” Fagundez said, “but if I can just contribute to the team I’ll be happy with that. As long as we’re winning, that’s the only thing that matters.”
SOEHN PROVES SHREWD HIRE
Jay Heaps wasn’t on the field leading New England during last weekend’s 2-0 victory over Houston, but the team was in good hands as their coach served a one-game suspension for a late ejection in the previous week’s match against D.C. United.
Standing in for Heaps was top assistant Tom Soehn, donning his best Saturday plaid.
In a twist of irony, Soehn, of course, spent six seasons with D.C. United, three as head coach and three as Piotr Nowak’s first assistant. Soehn left the club in 2010 for the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps, also coaching that squad on an interim status in 2011.
“I think having Tommy Soehn was perfect,” Heaps said. “He’s got more coaching experience than most coaches in MLS. He’s been integral to what we’re doing as a staff. It was comforting knowing he was going to be on the sideline, but at the same time it was miserable not being able to have an input into anything.”
Heaps is right.
Soehn’s experience even outweighs that of his boss, Heaps, who is in his third season as New England’s head coach. Before his time at D.C., Soehn also served as first assistant during former U.S. Men’s National Team coach Bob Bradley’s stint with the Chicago Fire.
HEAPS TIGHT-LIPPED ON BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING ANNIVERSARY
The Revolution were perhaps the Boston-area sports team most directly affected by last year’s tragic Boston Marathon bombing. And perhaps with that closeness in mind, Heaps declined to talk on Wednesday about any team activities the Revs took part in on Tuesday’s one-year anniversary to memorialize the injured and deceased.
“No, I won’t,” Heaps said. “It’s personal.”
Although no New England players were injured, former longtime goalie Matt Reis was named MLS Humanitarian of the Year in 2013, in part for his heroics in coming to the aid of his injured father-in-law John Odom.
Reis also later raised money to help accommodate Odom’s recovery.
Longtime Revs defender and Wellesley, Mass., native Chris Tierney was impacted, too, with his girlfriend sustaining an injury in the blast.
Last weekend, New England hosted former New England Patriot Joe Andruzzi’s marathon team along with members of the Boston Athletic Association.
Expecting Goncalves to be out this weekend? What does the attack need to do to improve? Do you see a win in the cards for the Revolution against the Chicago Fire?
Share your thoughts below.