FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The outcome of Tuesday's Lamar Hunt US Open Cup loss at Harrisburg will continue to plague New England ahead of Saturday's match with Chicago (7:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online), and not just because of the Revolution's stunning collapse.
Most of the trouble stems from the protracted manner in which the 3-3 draw after extra time and 4-3 defeat on penalty kicks unfolded. Revolution coach Jay Heaps carefully instructed assistant coaches Remi Roy and David Vaudreuil on how to use current first-teamers like Benny Feilhaber and Lee Nguyen against the City Islanders in his absence, but the additional 30 minutes threw a wrench into those plans even though both players featured from the bench.
Several players in Heaps' thoughts for this weekend's date against the Fire gritted through an additional half-hour without a full complement of players thanks to Diego Fagundez's red card, and piled extra minutes onto their legs during a hectic stretch of three matches in eight days.
It isn't an ideal scenario by any stretch, but Heaps said a couple of players will just have to cope with the situation.
“We had it set up for a 90-minute game and, obviously, it went 120,” Heaps told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday morning. “I think there are some players that played 20 to 30 minutes longer than we wanted, but we did manage some of the subs during that game. We wanted to make sure we took care of some players. We did manage as well as we could, but some players, no matter what, are going to have to step up and play three games in eight days.”
The looming prospect of a much-needed break should provide plenty of inspiration for the handful of Revs to grind their way through the weekend toil, according to New England captain Shalrie Joseph.
“At this point in the season, you know everybody's a little banged up,” Joseph said. “You just have put it behind you and be ready to play on the weekend. Some of the guys had a lot of traveling to go to Harrisburg to go to the Open Cup game, but it's Thursday and we still have 48 hours to rest and relax. We'll just wait for the weekend.”
Injuries to Guy and Simms leave Revs short in central midfield
Some of the burden from Tuesday's extra session might have dissipated if Ryan Guy (right calf tightness) and Clyde Simms (left ankle tendonitis) had recovered during this week, but those hopes appear misplaced at the moment.
Simms hasn't featured for the past two matches due to his ankle complaint. With a break on tap after the match with the Fire, Heaps said it may make more sense to give Simms more recovery time instead of rushing him back into the lineup.
“He's been making progress, absolutely,” Heaps said. “We just don't want to limit the progress. He'll come out and see where it is tomorrow, but we have to be smart. We do have a break coming up, so do we push him back for this game or do we think long-term? With Clyde, we just have to be smart.”
Those options aren't even on the table for the versatile Guy after he injured his right calf in the first half of last weekend's 3-2 defeat at D.C. United. Guy battled a similar problem earlier this season before returning to the side earlier this month. This particular knock will certainly keep him out against the Fire, according to Heaps.
“I think he's down,” Heaps said. “We have to take care of him. He'll be out for sure. We have to make sure that we get him back because he's a versatile player. He's not just in the center of midfield, he's all over midfield and even up top. Ryan's the utility man. When the utility guy goes down, now you start really asking players to play out of their comfort zone.”
The absences of Guy and Simms could prompt a first-team recall for Kelyn Rowe. The rookie midfielder played all 120 minutes in central midfield at Harrisburg on Tuesday, but he likely remains in contention for his first start since May 5 given the continued injury crisis in the center of the park. If he does earn a place in the starting XI, then he could either slot into the middle in a straight swap or start on the right flank to allow Feilhaber to play in the middle.