FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Five weeks after returning from sports hernia surgery, New England Revolution Designated Player Jermaine Jones was finally back in his comfort zone at central midfield in the club’s 1-1 draw against Toronto FC on Saturday.
While Jose Goncalves nursed a lingering calf issue, Jones was forced to the back line for his first four matches this season, but with Goncalves returning to the lineup, Revs coach Jay Heaps saw an opportunity to slide his DP back into the midfield to face up against a solid Eastern Conference side.
“With Jose, he’s been training real well this week and we wanted to kind of give a different look in the midfield against what we thought was a pretty dynamic midfield in Toronto,” said Heaps on why it was the right time to return Jones to a defensive mid slot.
Jones, who connected on 34 of his 42 pass attempts, also hung on to the captain’s armband that he donned when he first filled in for Goncalves along the back line.
“We have a lot of good leaders on this team,” said Heaps. “For me it’s really a team kind of concept for who wears it and when they wear it. Tonight, we thought it’d be good for Jermaine with his experience. At the same time I look at guys like [Chris] Tierney, [Andy] Dorman, Jermaine and Jose, guys that have been in there for a while that are all leaders.”
The Revolution attack benefitted from the return of Jones to the midfield, producing 16 shots, eight of which were on target.
With a busy week ahead for the club, Jones was subbed off for Dorman in the 63rd minute after giving a tasty glimpse of what this club’s lineup will probably look like when all starters are back to full health.
“Jermaine had a little bit of a knock earlier this week, missed a little bit of training time,” said Heaps. “With so many games coming up, we want to be smart. At the same time we thought Dorman and Kelyn [Rowe], when they came in, were going to add freshness, and they did.
“Sometimes you need to shake it up just to get things going in the right direction and I thought we did that at the right time.”
Craig Forde covers the New England Revolution for MLSsoccer.com.