Franchino out, but Revs press on
New England Revolution head coach Steve Nicol has ruled out captain Joey Franchino from action for the next three weeks, meaning he won't be available for Saturday's match against the Kansas City Wizards.
Franchino sustained a hip injury in last Wednesday's 3-0 victory in Dallas. After being withdrawn on Wednesday night in Dallas, Franchino did not feature on Saturday at D.C. United.
Nicol has confirmed fears that Franchino will miss at least the next two home matches against Kansas City and D.C. United, with a return targeted for either the Sept. 4 match against San Jose or the Sept. 11 match at MetroStars.
"We had a fair idea that it would be serious," said Nicol. "We needed him to keep playing, and he did. He came off at halftime (in Dallas) because he just couldn't go anymore. He'll be out three weeks resting up, and we'll go from there. We hope he won't need surgery. He has to sit on his backside and rest up. That's not an easy thing to do for him."
Jay Heaps replaced Franchino in the back in Saturday's match at United, and he looks set to continue on Saturday night if Nicol sticks to a 4-4-2 formation. Heaps should slot in at right back, with Marshall Leonard continuing on the left. Pierce and Avery John are the preferred pairing in the center. The formation allows Steve Ralston to return to his natural right midfield role after serving as a makeshift right back in recent weeks.
Goalkeeper Adin Brown has also returned to full training this week after gaining clearance from medical staff.
"It's nice to contribute to the team after being out for so long," said Brown. "I have felt pretty good. I was a little slow [on Tuesday] as I tried to get back into things. I felt better [on Wednesday], and I felt sharper. It will take some time. I'm not feeling -- I'm hoping -- things can progress. I am cleared to play now, so whether it is this weekend or next weekend, we'll see. It's up to the coaches."
League pool 'keeper Doug Warren remains with the Revolution as an alternative and Brown is listed as questionable for this weekend's encounter.
Revolution coach Steve Nicol believes his side will play with a determination to get points on Saturday, eschewing excessive style for the effective brand of soccer that has brought success in the past six matches.
"With the stretch coming up, we need to get wins," said Nicol. "If we gets some wins and open up some space, maybe we can open up a wee bit. We've got ourselves in a decent spot. It doesn't make any sense to lose that spot by going to chase the game. The big thing for us is to get wins. We'd love to go out and attack teams. It's hard to really open up and play when you're under pressure to find results."