FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – After finding their stride in the defensive third of the field, the New England Revolution will be forced to advance without the help of captain and reigning MLS Defender of the Year José Gonçalves, who was injured in last Saturday’s 2-0 win vs. Houston.
There may be no team better suited to take such a hit either, as the Revolution’s depth on defense breeds confidence given that the club has allowed just four goals over their last five matches.
“You build a team that has depth,” Jay Heaps told MLSsoccer.com prior to Friday morning's training session. “I think we have good depth and we challenge each other.”
After playing in all 34 games last season, Gonçalves was listed as "out" with a strained right quad. It was the first time in his career that he was labeled as such on the injury report.
“We’ve got a lot of guys that are on the bench that deserve to be starting, too, and would be starting on any other team,” center back A.J. Soares told MLSsoccer.com on Friday. “Perfect example is Darrius. He comes in and is always one of the best players on the team.”
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“I think A.J. has been spot on since day one,” said Heaps. “He’s a leader, he’s vocal, has a very good understanding of the game. That’s why I think players transition well next to him.”
The Revolution kept the Dynamo from getting a shot on goal a week ago, but doing that again will be a bit more of a challenge on Saturday against a Chicago Fire (4 pm ET, NBCSN) side that has not yet been shutout in any of their six matches.
“You stick to the system,” said Soares. “It’s not about any one guy. It’s obviously more difficult when your captain is out, but it’s not a problem and we have enough guys to stick to the system and get a result.”