FOXBORO, Mass. – From the moment the blood started gushing out of his head during the second half of a defeat at Colorado last week, Stephen McCarthy knew he would probably miss the date with Columbus just a few days later.
McCarthy has battled a variety of head injuries over the past year or so. The expansive gash suffered in the setback in Commerce City did not pose a threat in that sort of fashion, but it did prove troublesome enough to prevent him from featuring in the 2-0 victory at Crew Stadium last Saturday.
“It was a little bit of a scary situation with all of those stitches, but we had to make sure we were super cautious about it because of last year,” McCarthy told MLSsoccer.com. “I feel good now. … It sucks because I felt fine, but we knew we had to take every precaution.”
Revolution coach Jay Heaps cited the nature of the wound and the potential recurrence of the knock as the primary reasons behind the decision to omit McCarthy last weekend. Those remedial measures should not keep McCarthy out of the trip to face D.C. United on Saturday night (7 pm; MLS LIVE), though, according to Heaps.
“Really, it was just precautionary,” Heaps said. “Look, he had a two- or three-inch gash. We didn't want it to open up. It was a quick turnaround. He's back at practice and he's been training all week.”
McCarthy will attempt to displace A.J. Soares from the back four as the Revs search for a second straight victory. United poses a surprisingly plucky challenge given its recent success in the series (including a draw in Foxborough and a victory in a Lamar Hunt US Open Cup quarterfinal last month) and its palpable desire to turn around its season.
New England received a lesson in the need for constant application during that midweek defeat in Commerce City. At this stage of the campaign and with every point crucial in the Eastern Conference playoff chase, the Revs cannot afford to take any opponent – or even any sequence of plays – lightly.
Heaps reinforced the need to embrace the toil ahead and maintain the necessary concentration during training this week. It is harder for the Revs now with Juan Agudelo (right knee sprain) still sidelined, but their gritty performance in Columbus last weekend provides a template for the sort of commitment and effort they must expend in order to procure a result at RFK Stadium.
“We have to take each play as it is,” Heaps said. “It's one play at a time for us right now. We talk about one game at a time, but, right now, it's one play at time. We have to make plays during the game to put ourselves in a position to get result.”