Heaps says New England Revolution striker Saer Sene "looks good" in first match since ACL tear
Sène hadn't played in a MLS match since tearing his left ACL last August. He spent most of that time recovering from surgery in September. It took him six-and-a-half months to return to full training. It took him another two weeks to place himself into contention for this match.
All of that hard work led to this moment. He watched as the fourth official lifted the signboard with his number and then ushered him onto the field in place of Juan Toja.
Revolution coach Jay Heaps showed his desire to hand Sène that first appearance by including him in his travel squad, but he did not inject him into the fray simply to let him run around a bit in the waning stages of the encounter.
“He helped us,” Heaps told reporters after the match. “It was something we've seen in training and how he keeps it for us. It was important that he got [the minutes].”
Sène showed glimpses of what he can offer to the Revs as he obtains full fitness and sharpness. His pace stretched the field vertically and supplied an option over the top or up the left flank. His diligent work off the ball posed the occasional problem for the Sounders rearguard and provided another outlet as the Revs attempted to build through midfield.
Although Sène's final statistics – 12 touches, three out of four passes completed, according to OPTA – revealed a modest impact on the proceedings, his presence told a different story. New England looked more dangerous with him on the field than it had in the preceding 74 minutes, a necessary boost for a team with one goal scored through five games this season.
If Sène has his way, then those numbers will improve substantially over the next few weeks. It may take Sène some time to display his 11-goal form from a year ago, but he will continue to present issues for opposing defenders as he works his way back to full fitness, according to Heaps.
“He's not 100 percent yet,” Heaps said. “But you can see some of the things he can do. He kept the ball for us, he made some good runs. His fitness is going to come along. His body looks good, but we just have to get his fitness up.”