MONTREAL – There is no handbook to immediately process what happened to Saer Sène on Saturday afternoon. There is no way to plan for emotional fallout when an adversary or teammate suffers a dislocated left ankle and a broken left fibula mere steps from where you stand. There is no way to just shrug it off and continue without a hitch.
Sène's gruesome injury – resulting from the fallout of a Davy Arnaud tackle and diagnosed by a local hospital – stunned everyone inside Stade Saputo. Only the 22 men on the field needed to continue the game shortly thereafter.
“It's very difficult,” Revolution defender Chris Tierney told MLSsoccer.com. “I experienced it a couple of years ago with a similar thing with Preston [Burpo, former Revolution goalkeeper who broke his leg during a match in 2010]. It rocks the team.”
It also rocked Arnaud, the unintentional participant in this horrid incident after his initial tackle won the ball and his momentum subsequently carried him straight through Sène.
The veteran midfielder displayed his concern immediately by waving for the medical staff to enter the field. He then expressed his sorrow after the match to local reporters. He even stopped by the Revolution locker room to check on Sène's status with a club employee before he exited the stadium. Sène would eventually board the team bus en route back to Massachusetts with the rest of his teammates.
“It's unfortunate,” Arnaud told MLSsoccer.com's Olivier Tremblay after the match. “I feel really bad about what happened to him. It looks like it was a pretty bad injury. I was just trying to tackle the ball, and I think it's a good tackle.
"I won the ball clean, but his foot might have just got caught underneath me. You never want to see that happen. I felt really bad at the time, and I still feel bad about it now. I hope he's okay. Unfortunately, it's part of the game, but you don't ever want to see it happen.”
In the wake of such horror, Arnaud and his colleagues resumed their normal duties. The onus fell on both sides to conjure some sort of response and find their footing once more.
Most of the pressure fell on New England to maintain its poise in such trying circumstances, though. Jay Heaps' side traveled to Quebec in desperate need of three points to sustain its playoff push. Heaps sagely noted after the match that Sène's injury places the chase in perspective, but the veracity of his statement did not detract from the Revs' desire to secure a much-needed victory.
Following through on that objective required ample composure in the face of Sène's departure. New England somehow kept its bearings despite the shock, pressed forward after play started once more and snatched the only goal of the game through José Gonçalves in the 31st minute.
“It was huge, especially for a young team like this, to rally and to keep the concentration,” Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis said. “There could have very easily been a dip in concentration. To a man, there wasn't.”
Kyle McCarthy covers the New England Revolution for MLSsoccer.com.