There is still plenty of uncertainty surrounding the New England Revolution heading into the weekend, as head coach Jay Heaps will first have assess the fitness of Shalrie Joseph and Stephen McCarthy before he names his starting lineup for Saturday's match at Sporting Kansas City (8:30 pm ET, MLS Live).
Both players missed the Revolution's 2-1 defeat at Montréal on Wednesday, but Heaps said he hopes Joseph (questionable – hip irritation) and McCarthy (probable – concussion-like symptoms) will feature against Sporting.
“I think [they] are both questionable right now,” Heaps told reporters on a conference call held on Friday. “We have to find out where they are physically and where they’ll be as we’re going into the match. But as of right now, no decisions have been made on either player.”
In a positive sign regarding his availability for the match, McCarthy flew to Kansas City on Friday to link up with his teammates after he stayed in the Boston area for the midweek game at Stade Saputo.
The potential return of both players would provide a boost to the Revs as they seek to halt a run of two consecutive defeats, according to Revolution midfielder Benny Feilhaber.
“It’s always tough not having those guys in the lineup,” Feilhaber told reporters on a conference call held on Friday. “Shalrie [above] is our captain and he’s a guy that’s important to our team. Obviously, he’s been here for such a long time. So [losing] guys like that, it’s tough.
“McCarthy’s been playing really well the last four, five, six weeks and him being out makes it a little tougher for us.”
Although Feilhaber said he'd like to see Joseph and McCarthy back in the fold for this match against the Eastern Conference leaders, he noted that he and his teammates are more than capable of assuming the burden if they do not play and atoning for the 3-0 defeat suffered at Livestrong Sporting Park on March 17.
“I think that the guys that step in know what they’re doing and they know the system,” Feilhaber said. “They’re not guys that are a level below anybody else on this team. So in that sense, I think we’re not going to use it as an excuse. Hopefully, we can have all the pieces back for this game and then Jay will have more tough decisions to make.”