FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Saër Sène has spent most of this season searching for firm footing.
Safe ground crumbled when he tore his left ACL last August. It has taken the French striker a bit longer than expected to find his way back to it.
Fitness and form presented the expected obstacles. Sène eased back into the New England Revolution lineup in April and then suffered a hip contusion in July.
The inevitable stops and starts along the path to health sidetracked his ability to reproduce the performances he submitted for the Revolution when he scored 11 goals last season.
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“I think I've been working hard since I came back from my injury,” Sène told MLSsoccer.com. “I think I'm getting back on my form. It's a little bit late, but the end of the season is an important part. I'm getting better and better. I am almost 100 percent. That's why.”
It shows in his recent displays. Sène has registered a goal or an assist in each of his past four appearances. His production during that spell – two goals and three assists – constitutes the sort of contribution expected from a player of his caliber.
Revolution coach Jay Heaps credited Sène for pressing higher up the field and searching for the gaps required to exert his influence on the game.
“I think he's reading the game well,” Heaps said. “He's playing a good, high line. He's finding good angles to get in behind. Defensively, he's putting the work in. That's what we demand of our guys. He's doing an excellent job.”
Sène has also embraced the need to start in wider positions. He functions most neatly as a center forward darting behind the line, but his role in the Revolution's hybrid 4-1-4-1 setup necessitates a wider starting point. His willingness to embrace those tenets on either flank permits him to operate in more space and slice into areas where he can either provide for others or strike at goal.
“I'm trying to stay wide,” Sène said. “I forget myself sometimes that I need to be away. I have to come touch the ball, go away and then make myself in the best position. I like to come in on my left foot – that's my best side – for the shot or the finish.”
Either outcome would suffice for the Revs right now as they bid to secure a playoff spot. Sène said he hopes his return to form can help fire his side to the postseason.
“It's the right time,” Sène said. “We have four games left. I want to try my best to go to the playoffs and help the team.”
Kyle McCarthy covers the New England Revolution for MLSsoccer.com.