FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Kevin Alston’s broken nose needed protection.
Fortunately for the Revs defender, he got it. Unfortunately, the Phantom of the Opera-style mask he donned in the 2-0 defeat to Real Salt Lake on April 9 was as bulky as it was protective.
“The [mask] was horrible,” Alston told MLSsoccer.com on Friday. “You couldn't see down after a point, so you had to look all the way down.”
Alston moved to a second mask because his nose needed more time to heal from the blow it suffered in Vancouver on April 6. The new mask displayed in Sunday's 1-0 defeat at Houston is a molded plastic sheath similar to the one sported by Detroit Pistons guard Richard Hamilton.
“With this [new] one, you can actually see a little bit more freely,” Alston said.
After expressing his displeasure with the previous garb, Alston gave the custom-fitted mask top marks for its utility after testing it out during practice last week.
“I just got a custom mask, which is eight times better,” Alston said. “I can actually see. It's all clear. There are no pads to block my vision.”
Such limitations can complicate matters for the industrious Alston as he patrols the right side of the field, but he said wearing the mask has not restricted his activities or capabilities too much.
“It's not too bad with the breathing,” Alston said. “There are a couple of spots – depending on which direction you look – where you're seeing something in your vision.”
Despite those minor hindrances and the increased comfort level of his second mask, Alston offered a predictable response when asked if he'd miss his temporary piece of equipment after hopefully retiring it by the time he returns to the training field on Wednesday.
“Not at all,” Alston said.