Noonan out for Revs against Real
The New England Revolution are once again set to miss Pat Noonan, this time for Wednesday night's encounter with Real Salt Lake at Gillette Stadium.
The U.S. international was ruled out by head coach Steve Nicol yesterday, as he is still plagued by an ankle injury that saw ice and rest rather than training on Tuesday.
Connally Edozien (knee) and Ryan Latham (groin) are also ruled out for the midweek encounter.
Nicol hopes to have all three players back at the weekend.
The Revolution boss will have the services of Jay Heaps, returning from suspension. Avery John or James Riley will likely make way for the veteran.
For the visitors, Clint Mathis is suspended, while Jason Kreis suffered a foot injury at the weekend that could leave him sidelined.
"They are both talented players," said Nicol of Kreis and Mathis. "However, you can't under estimate the ability of those players who will replace them. We have to be on our toes."
The match represents a homecoming for many Real Salt Lake players. Brian Dunseth, Rusty Pierce, Brian Kamler, Andy Williams and Chris Brown all featured for the Revolution at some point over the years. Reserve midfielder Leighton O'Brien, on loan with Seattle of the USL First Division, was drafted by the Revolution.
"They have a lot of ex-players coming back," said Nicol. "With one former player, you know you are going to get 100 percent commitment from them. With two or three, we're up against it. Half of their starting lineup could be ex-Revs."
The former players should not give Real much of an advantage over other clubs.
"I think most teams by now know what each other are going to do," said Nicol. "For us, it will be changing set pieces and free kicks."
Nicol reserved a special mention for the fierceness of Pierce. The former defender, outspoken in his final days with the Revolution, is probable with a hamstring strain.
"They have a lot of competitive players. Rusty can be described as a lot of things, and competitive is certainly one of those things," Nicol said.
The Revs manager admits that improvement is needed at both ends of the pitch to secure victory, but the underpinnings of victory are well within grasp.
"We passed the ball great," said Nicol. "We just didn't finish. Defensively, we lost two goals we could have avoided. It's a two-way street, because there have been games where they kept out the other side."
Kyle McCarthy is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.