By Kevin Koczwara
The New England have and will continue have struggles as long as their injury problems and suspensions continue, and tonight’s game against Columbus Crew looks no different.
The long term injury to Matt Reis forced the Revolution (2-3-1, 7 pts.) to make an offseason move for a goalkeeper, Preston Burpo, that could man the fort while Reis was out.
Taylor Twellman’s injury has sent manager Steve Nicol on a great expedition for a goal-scorer. And nothing has turned up besides a few flashes from Marko Perovic and Zack Schilawski, but nothing consistent has surfaced for the Revolution.
Then there is the absence of Shalrie Joseph – on leave for personal reasons. Without the stalwart midfielder controlling the middle of the field the Revolution have struggled to control play and take the game to an opponent. But without him, the Revolution needed the whole squad to pull together and fill-in and play their part to be successful, and that hasn’t happened partly because of the injuries plaguing the squad and the recent suspensions to player like Kheli Dube, Joseph Niouky and now Perovic.
In tonight’s match against the Crew (2-0-2, 8 pts.), Twellman, Reis and Joseph will all be unavailable again. Twellman and Joseph will be sorely missed against one of the best sides in the MLS. Added to the list of major injuries is defender Emmanuel Osei who will miss his third-straight game because of a right leg laceration. Michael Videira is out again due to ankle problems – Videira has yet to hit the field in a game for the Revs.
Questionable for tonight’s game is Kevin Alston. The second year defender tweaked his hamstring during the first half of Wednesday night’s 4-0 loss to Chivas USA and had to be removed at halftime.
“My hamstring is a little sore right now,” said Alston after the game on Wednesday. “It is a little hard to tell if I am even going to be able to go on Saturday. I kind of pulled myself off to make sure I didn’t pull it.”
If Alston isn’t 100 percent fit to go then the Revolution could be without another key player, something they do not need.
A Return to Duty
Some good news for the Revolution has to be the return of Nico Colaluco to the lineup.
Colaluco got onto the field for New England for the first time on Wednesday when he was subbed on for Chris Tierney late in the game.
“It was my first game of the season coming back from injury,” said Colaluco after the Chivas loss. “It gave me a little more confidence getting out there and having my injury feel good, being able to get some touches on the ball.”
Colaluco was acquired from Colorado in 2009 for defender Rob Valentino to hopefully fill a void in the attacking midfield role, but he has yet to show the range of his skills because of lingering injuries.
The 23-year-old Rhode Island native does have a positive outlook for the Revolution despite the injuries to key players and the recent suspensions.
“We are always going to fight no matter what position we are in as a team. We have to bring a better product to the field as a whole from the beginning,” said Colaluco.
The Revolution take on the undefeated Columbus Crew tonight at 7 p.m. on Fox Soccer Channel.
Kevin Koczwara is a contributing writer and editor for The Soccer Guys. He can be reached at email@example.com.