The New England Revolution had been rolling out the red carpet to welcome Jermaine Jones into the fold all week long.
On Saturday, the club extended that welcome by allowing him to make his MLS debut in the second half of a match that saw the Revolution cruise to a 3-0 victory over Toronto FC at BMO Field.
“Today was a perfect game,” said Jones. “The first 20 minutes was amazing and I would say there was only one team who were going to win this match and we showed it. It was easy to come in being up 3-0.”
With a front row seat for the first 65 minutes of the action, Jones saw his new club strike quickly. In the second minute of the match, Revs stalwart Lee Nguyen picked off a lazy pass by Toronto, dribbled in, and with wide open space in front of him, smoked a shot home for New England’s quickest goal of the season.
“Jermaine has been really good all week and for us,” said coach Jay Heaps. “Jermaine has been excellent with our group and we wanted to get him in there and fit him in like a training session.”
- Get more New England Revolution news at RevolutionSoccer.net
In the 65th minute, the move was made when Jones subbed on for Daigo Kobayashi in central midfield. Ranging east-to-west and north-to-south, Jones immediately showed off his skill set behind bursts of speed, great ballhandling, backtracking on defense, and even a bit of intensity when arguing a call against a teammate.
“I was happy to be back on the pitch in a game,” said Jones. “It’s always good when you get the minutes and you win them. Everybody was great today.”
Having a six-week layoff, Jones was not expected to start after just four training sessions, but getting 25 minutes, and three points, are the first small steps towards what he and the team hope will be a solid push towards the top of the table.
“I was talking to the coach before,” said Jones. “We wanted to go step-by-step. It was a long break for me and I can feel it. I need time on the pitch, of course. Today was 25 minutes, next game a little bit longer, but I will try my best to be 100% fast.”