FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – After four long weeks on the sideline, New England Revolution captain José Gonçalves is nearing a return to the gameday pitch, which could come as soon as this Saturday in Philadelphia against the Union (7 pm ET, MLS Live).
After being only one of three field players in the league last year to play in every regular season game, Gonçalves has already been sidelined for five matches this season. But he knows that a return from any injury should not be taken lightly.
“It’s difficult,” the Portuguese veteran told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday. “No one wants to be injured or be on the sidelines, but this is how the game goes. You always need to be aware that if something happens, if you pick up an injury, the most important thing is that you come back stronger and not rush and get another injury.”
Gonçalves will be upgraded from “out” to “questionable” for the first time since suffering a right quad strain against Houston back on April 12. Earlier in the week, he was finally back to training in full with the club, a major step towards his return to the lineup.
“It’s progressing every day,” Gonçalves said. “I’m back on the field with the team and it’s a matter of time. In the training process I’m still trying to find the right tempo to be involved in the game.”
- Check out more New England news at RevolutionSoccer.net
If Gonçalves does crack the gameday 18, it will be the second straight week that the Revs and coach Jay Heaps will have a key body back in the mix, following the return of Kelyn Rowe last week against Seattle.
“We’re getting players back,” Heaps told the media on Thursday. “It’s good to have a group to choose from. Players are fighting for spots every day.”
Short of confirming Gonçalves' return for Saturday, Heaps would only add that, “We’re ready for the game and we’re excited about playing Philly.”