In-form Revs remain unchanged
New England Revolution manager Steve Nicol will once again have the luxury of naming an unchanged side for this weekend's encounter at Giants Stadium against the MetroStars.
After picking up knocks in last Saturday's matchup, Marshall Leonard (abdominal strain) and Shalrie Joseph (right ankle) both participated in Thursday's training session, clearing the way for starting berths in Saturday's tilt.
Nicol will once again have to do without the services of either Cassio or James Riley. Riley continues to rehab his left hamstring, while Cassio remains sidelined with turf toe.
"Cassio's a lot better this week," said Nicol. "Had we not been on [FieldTurf] this week, he would have been in the squad. It doesn't make sense to put him in the squad."
The encounter will be the Revolution's first match on the artificial turf this season, and Nicol is not looking forward to the Giants Stadium surface.
"You know I don't like it," said Nicol. "I'm sure their players don't like it either."
As for the opposition, the MetroStars have rounded into form with a miserly defense aiming to keep the Revolution away from goal.
"They've picked up a couple of good wins lately, but we concentrate on what we do," Nicol said.
Nicol credits the experience of veteran Jeff Agoos at the back as a critical factor for the Metros' success on the backline.
"[Jeff] Agoos brings a lot of experience in the back for them," said Nicol. "He pushes people into space and helps them pick up good positions. They aren't losing goals at the moment, so it tells me they are doing something right."
With the full complement of attacking triumvirate Eddie Gaven, Amado Guevara and Youri Djorkaeff slated to feature for the home side this weekend, Nicol points out the former French international as one to watch for his side.
"If it's a 37-year-old plumber, you'll ask questions," said Nicol. "He's been there, seen it, done it, and been on the T-shirt. He can only add to the team. We have to close him down and not allow him any space."
Kyle McCarthy is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.