FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England Revolution coach Steve Nicol will rely on his reserves to secure a result in Tuesday night's Lamar Hunt US Open Cup qualifier at D.C. United.
Although several starters will sit out the trip to Maryland, Nicol can count on a few seasoned figures to lend their knowledge to a relatively inexperienced group.
Ousmane Dabo, a veteran of multiple European leagues, is expected to make his first appearance in a Revolution uniform after finally shrugging off a troublesome right quadriceps injury over the past couple of weeks. Nicol said he believes the match against United represents the perfect opportunity to get Dabo some match time as he works to achieve full fitness.
“He hasn't had any games under his belt, so he needs to get some time on the field,” Nicol said on Friday. “He'll start [against United].”
Nicol left the likes of Benny Feilhaber, Shalrie Joseph and Matt Reis in Massachusetts to rest, as the Revs depart for Southern California on Thursday ahead of Saturday's league match against Chivas USA.
The recent troubles with fixture congestion prompted Nicol to consider the potentially negative ramifications of bringing his starting XI to Boyds, Md., for the date against United.
“We really need to think about it,” Nicol told MLSsoccer.com after Saturday night's 3-2 victory over Sporting Kansas City. “Two weeks ago, we had Saturday-Wednesday-Saturday and it really affected us. It was a problem for us. We have to keep that in mind. We have a trip away again on Saturday and we go to Chivas on Thursday, so we have to be smart about what we do on Tuesday.”
In adition to Dabo, other potential starters include familiar faces such as Darrius Barnes, Ryan Cochrane, Bobby Shuttleworth and Chris Tierney, but Nicol has also made room in the squad for younger players to obtain some first-team experience.
Diego Fagundez could make his first senior appearance for the club after earning a place in the travel party, while other hopefuls such as Michael Augustine, Alan Koger and Otto Loewy could also come into contention for their Revolution debuts.