FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Ryan Guy's path to first-team football oddly started when New England went out and signed Monsef Zerka to play in his preferred position on the right flank.
The move should have presented yet another obstruction to a player who had started just once since linking up with the Revs in June, but it instead supplied another dose of encouragement to tussle for a spot in the starting XI.
“The truth is that when things like that happen, sometimes it motivates you and sometimes it gets you down,” Guy told MLSsoccer.com earlier this week. “If anything, it was more motivation for me to fight for my spot. You have to fight, fight, fight. That's what the game is all about. It's professional competition.”
Guy's application in the wake of Zerka's arrival captured the attention of the Revolution coaching staff, according to assistant coach Stephen Myles.
“Ryan's come in and done well,” Myles said. “He's worked hard in training all of the time. He's listened to what we're trying to tell him and tell everybody. We ask people to do simple things, keep it simple and do the simple things well. That's what he's done.”
The persistence has paid off in recent weeks, as Zerka's struggles with a quadriceps complaint – combined with Sainey Nyassi's ongoing battle with knee and hamstring injuries – has opened the door for Guy to appear in the last four matches.
“Sometimes, you have to get a little lucky, even if it's not great with injuries,” Guy said. “Obviously, it's a shame. No one ever likes to see injuries. But this game is about taking your opportunities. I'd like to think that I've at least showed well.”
Few would argue with his assertion after he marked his first start since June 26 by scoring his first two MLS goals in Sunday's 3-2 defeat at Chicago. Guy operated along the right side of midfield and exerted his influence on the match, particularly in a second half showing where he hit the crossbar and snatched that late pair of tallies.
Revolution midfielder Benny Feilhaber said Guy's performances over the past month have gradually revealed the qualities he can bring to the side if he is given ample opportunity to flourish.
“He's got the ability to help us out and give us something,” Feilhaber said. “He's proven that. This was only his second time out there from the start and the first one definitely wasn't a great show of what he can do because, obviously, playing in Seattle in his first week (is tough). That wasn't what he's all about.
“I think he's showed it little by little in the games where he's come in and now he's shown it as a 90-minute player,” he added. “It's great to see.”
Guy's performances have handed Myles and Revolution coach Steve Nicol plenty of material to ponder with Zerka poised to return against Seattle on Saturday (7:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online). Both players possess the versatility to slide over to the left flank if required, but Guy has raised enough questions over the past few weeks to press for another opportunity to play from the start.
“In all honesty, that's what you want in a squad,” Myles said. “You're wanting that if somebody drops out. You've got your normal XI, the guys who are starting, but you want those guys as squad players to come in and do the business if they get the opportunity. You don't want to see a drop in quality. He's come in and done himself well.”