FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Every day teaches Stephen McCarthy a little bit more about coping with a head injury.
The road isn't an easy one for the New England center back. He avoided any meaningful physical exertion for two full weeks and sat out the past two matches as he grappled with the impact of sustaining a second head injury in a matter of months. Now he takes his recovery one day at a time as he tries to resume his normal duties.
“It's tough,” McCarthy told MLSsoccer.com earlier this week. “I'm trying to take it day-by-day. I think [Revolution coach Jay Heaps] is the same way. The training staff is good about [checking to see] how I'm feeling each day. We look at it each morning and each afternoon, how does it feel coming in and out. If it's good, then I'll keep going. If it's not, then I'll take a little step back. It's good right now.”
McCarthy felt well enough to train with his teammates on Tuesday, but one training session isn't enough to put him in contention for a place in the squad for Saturday's season finale at Montreal (2 pm ET, watch LIVE online). Heaps said on Tuesday that he won't rush McCarthy back into the squad for this weekend's match if he isn't fully fit.
“There will be a pretty cautious thought process on that one,” Heaps said.
Tierney tries to finish out strong
Similar words of caution placed Chris Tierney's availability for the remainder of the season in doubt just a few weeks ago. The defender/midfielder sustained left hamstring and left knee injuries in a training ground clash prior to the Revolution's 2-1 defeat at D.C. United on Sept. 15.
Instead of closing up shop for the season, Tierney buckled down and pushed himself to finish out the campaign on the field. He ended his three-match absence by featuring as a second-half substitute in the 1-0 victory over Chicago last weekend.
“It's important for me,” Tierney said. “You always want to be involved, be a part of the team and be out training with the guys. We have a good group that we hope will be around next year. The more we play with each other, the more comfortable we get all get playing together, the better. It's good to have as many guys fit as possible.”
Gearing up for a rare matinee
While other MLS sides play in the afternoon on a fairly frequent basis, the Revs haven't started a match before 4 pm ET this season. They haven't even played an afternoon game of any sort since visiting Toronto FC in June.
Heaps said he and his technical staff have deviated from their usual preparations in order to accommodate for the abnormal start time.
“You tailor training sessions to maximize the players' energy levels without burning them out,” the Revs boss said. “There's a little more time to recover with a night game. With a 2 pm game, you have to prepare a little sooner and make sure the guys are rested.”