Revs Notebook: Dabo finally finding his fitness
TORRANCE, Calif. – New England coach Steve Nicol had waited for this moment since Ousmane Dabo signed with the Revolution during the offseason.
The Frenchman finally made his Revs debut in Tuesday's 3-2 victory over D.C. United in a Lamar Hunt US Open Cup play-in match after recovering from a right quadriceps strain. Nicol said the 34-year-old midfielder showed why he could make a significant impact in MLS.
“It was pretty much what we thought,” Nicol told MLSsoccer.com after the match. “He's great on the ball. He's calm. But, obviously, he's run out of steam. That's no surprise. When he's fully fit and ready to go, he'll certainly help us.”
Dabo displayed his ability to pick out the right pass and supply his teammates with the correct ball, but the former Lazio and Manchester City man said he will show even more as he sees more time on the field.
“My sharpness was not the best,” Dabo said. “It's been a long time since I've played and I've been injured. I'm sure that I will get back to fitness very quickly and be able to be part of the team if Stevie wants it.”
Nicol certainly wants Dabo to feature in the starting XI at some point, but the exact date of his arrival in the first team remains uncertain. Dabo understandably lacked a bit of fitness during his 76 minutes on the field, but he said he believes he will be able to obtain the required standard with a few more appearances.
“I need maybe one or two more games, and then I will be OK,” Dabo said. “I'm not so slow to get to good fitness. With the training with the team as well, I will be able to get good fitness.”
More time for Dube?
Revolution forward Kheli Dube has spent plenty of time showing off his versatility during the past year. After scoring twice against United on Tuesday, he hopes that his display will reassert his credentials as a forward.
“It's good to play for the first time,” Dube said. “I haven't played up front in a while. If you're using two forwards, it's easy for me. That's what I like.”
Dube's production against DC provided a timely reminder that he scored eight goals for the Revs in 2009, but he struggled to reproduce that form in 2010. He eventually found himself out of the forward rotation and shunted into a makeshift role on the right side of midfield.
Rajko Lekic, Marko Perovic and Zack Schilawski – plus the emergence of Zak Boggs and Sainey Nyassi as wider options in New England's three-man forward line – have kept Dube down the pecking order for a striking role this season, but he hopes the performance against United will increase his chances to see the field with more regularity.
“You have to score and use every chance you get,” Dube said. “This is a chance to prove yourself. Hopefully, it helps out.”
Hectic week for squad players
Several members of the squad from Tuesday's trip to Boyds, Md., must recover quickly from an extensive week of travel after earning a place in Nicol's squad for Saturday's match at Chivas USA (10:30 pm ET, MatchDay Live).
Nicol and those players traveled to Maryland on Monday, returned to Boston on Wednesday and departed for Los Angeles on Thursday.
“That's why we have a big squad,” Dube said. “We have to get help from everybody. Some guys will be going on [to LA], but it's a team effort to win games. I think we showed that [against United].”
Despite the rigorous travel itinerary, Nicol said those players pulling double duty will have to find some way to rest their legs and prepare for Saturday.
“They need to be [ready],” Nicol said. “If you win games, you get more games. That's just the way it goes.”