Pierce ready to return for Revolution

The New England Revolution should welcome back long-injured defender Rusty Pierce for this weekend's home encounter against the Columbus Crew.

The veteran defender has only featured in three matches for the Revolution this season. Pierce has been in training for the past two weeks, attempting to shake off the effects of a nagging quadriceps contusion that has kept him out of the lineup since late April.

Although he is officially listed as questionable, Pierce suggests that he could give it a go on Saturday, probably from the substitute's bench.

"I'm great, good, and I couldn't be better," said Pierce. "I'm ready now. I don't have 90 minutes in me at the top level. I think I have 60 or 70 minutes."

The re-emergence of Pierce has left Revolution head coach Steve Nicol with some serious decisions as to the composition of his backline.

Midfielder Steve Ralston has manned the right back position in each of the last four matches, and he looks set to continue in that spot on Saturday. The central defensive pairing of Avery John and Jay Heaps has looked solid, forcing Nicol to carefully deliberate any possible changes to the back line.

"It all depends on results," said Nicol. "If we're not losing goals at the back, it's harder to make changes. If we are losing goals at the back, then maybe we need to make some changes. It all depends on what happens."

Revolution goalkeeper Adin Brown looks set to miss his fifth consecutive league encounter, still suffering the lingering effects of a concussion. The former William and Mary shot-stopper is listed as doubtful after practicing on Monday and Tuesday of this week. Brown missed Wednesday's practice, and he had not received clearance to play from Revolution medical staff as of midweek.

Brown's continued absence means Matt Reis will continue as the Revolution No. 1 for at least another week. Long term injury casualties Joe-Max Moore, Carlos Llamosa and Clint Dempsey are out, while Brian Kamler picked up a knock in training but is listed as probable.

Kyle McCarthy is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.

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