The Revolution's midfield general, Lee Nguyen, has been fined and suspended one game by the MLS Disciplinary Committee for "endangering the safety of an opponent" in last Friday's Independence Day match against Real Salt Lake. The opponent in question is RSL's John Stertzer, whose back was stepped on by Nguyen following a tangle between the two in the 57th minute of the match.
I'm not going to argue whether the incident was intentional or not, you can judge for yourself:
Either way, this is unfortunate news for the Revs. And while it may seem like a late announcement, Jeff Lemieux confirmed on twitter that head coach Jay Heaps was aware of the looming suspension earlier this week:
Announcement comes late, but Heaps confirmed #NERevs knew about Nguyen suspension much earlier this week. It's why he played 90 in Philly.— Jeff Lemieux (@jeff_lemieux) July 11, 2014
Without Nguyen, the Revs will have to turn to one of their other central midfielders to fill in and pull the strings in the center of the park. Since his return from an early-season injury, Kelyn Rowe has rotated in and out of the starting lineup with Daigo Kobayashi as Nguyen's partner in the center. There's a good chance that the two will partner with each other tomorrow against the Fire. But rookie Steve Neumann could get his first start of the season in place of one of them. Then again, all three could start with Neumann on one of the wings, a spot that he played at just this week against the Philadelphia Union.
Whoever start sin place of Nguyen, the Revs have an even bigger mountain to climb now to snap their four-game losing streak and get back on the right track.