US Open Cup: Saer Sene returns to lineup, shines as center forward in New England Revolution win
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – His status has been a mystery for much of the season, but Jay Heaps let Saer Sene loose on Wednesday night and the French striker came through, logging a season high 79 minutes and scoring his first goal since September of last season.
“It was very good to play again,” said Sene following the Revs' 2-1 win over the Rochester Rhinos. “I’m just happy to be healthy again and play for the team and get some minutes.”
Heading into the 2014 campaign, Sene was still on the mend after a devastating leg injury that ended his 2013 season.
He appeared in New England’s first seven games of the season, primarily playing wide, but after missing a game for an undisclosed personal matter, he did not hit the field for six straight matches.
In his return to the starting lineup on Wednesday night, Sene was back in a more comfortable position as the Revolution's central attacking option and in the 11th minute Heaps' decision to put him there paid off when he stuck home a feed from Lee Nguyen in the box.
“I miss it,” Sene said of playing up top. “It was very good, I had a lot of fun and that’s the position that I love to play, just scoring goals and running behind the defense.”
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Having had only nine minutes of play in the last two months, Sene began to slow a bit in the second half and in the 79th minute he was subbed off for Patrick Mullins.
“Saer gave us a lot more than he probably really is fit enough to do,” said Heaps. “I thought he was really sharp at the beginning of the game when he was feeling his legs. In the second half we probably went an extra 10-15 minutes too long with him.”
But Sene showed no ill effects after the match, instead relishing being back in the mix.
“After 79 minutes, and a goal, and a win, it feels very good,” said Sene. “I hope to keep it up.”