The New England Revolution are in the midst of preparing for when D.C. United visits Gillette Stadium Saturday afternoon, but that didn't stop the team from reflecting upon some questions at large.
Jay Heaps spoke with the media after Wednesday's training, expanding upon everything from Scott Caldwell's role to when Xavier Kouassi will arrive in Foxboro.
How is Kouassi doing?
New England's biggest move this offseason was signing Kouassi to a Designated Player deal, thus ending the defensive midfielder's time with FC Sion of the Swiss Super League.
However, gut-wrenching news immediately followed suit, as the Ivory Coast international tore his ACL and has since undergone surgery. While the 26-year-old was originally not slated to arrive until the summer months, Heaps offered a clearer sense of what the club's long-term plan with Kouassi is.
"From what we have, there’s not much more than the surgery went according to plan," Heaps said. "I don’t think there’s a time-plan set up because it’s still early in, but after three months I’m sure we’ll see him here at that three month period to have our doctors get a better assessment."
In the meantime, what exactly is Kouassi up to? For starters he's undergoing rehab and working back to full health, but that doesn't mean he's distanced from how the Revs are faring.
"He’s watching our games and I think excited to get here," Heaps said.
Caldwell's substitute role clarified
One of the biggest questions marks of this past Sunday's 3-3 draw against the Houston Dynamo was why Caldwell began the match on the bench. More specifically, it was intriguing to see Kelyn Rowe start alongside Gershon Koffie in a deep-lying role.
As it turns out, the move was a measured one and rooted more in fitness levels than experimentation.
"You base a lot on preseason, you base a lot on where guys are with fitness levels," Heaps said. "Scotty missed a little bit of time in preseason coming in with an injection before the season started, and then was building his fitness and building in preseason. He got an illness in preseason.
"In terms of reps, we felt that was a good, physical lineup for us and I think Scotty was going to factor no matter what," Heaps added. "It was just a matter of when."
Once Caldwell entered the fold for an injured Rowe, he altered the game's complexion entirely. He completed 96 percent of his passes and formed a seamless partnership with Koffie in front of the center back pairing of Jose Goncalves and Andrew Farrell.
"He went in a little sooner than I think we were predicting, but nonetheless came in and changed the game and did exactly what Scotty does which is play quickly, found passes," Heaps said. "... For us, he completely took the game from a physical battle to a play type of scenario."
Rowe's injury explained
As alluded to above, Rowe left the Houston match at halftime with an undisclosed injury. However, Rowe was present at Wednesday's training session and Heaps affirmed Tuesday that the club is hopeful he'll be available for selection.
With that in mind, Heaps explained what exactly has been ailing Rowe.
"It was some type of bruise to his midsection body and it was a strange one because in the locker room we felt like we could get a little more out of him," Heaps said. "Then once he got onto field ... it really tightened up. But he's definitely progressed and out here jogging and running. He's going to be an option for us on Saturday.
What about last year's playoff loss?
Last year's 2-1 playoff loss at RFK Stadium is still fresh in the minds of Revs fans, but it appears as though the team has employed a short memory.
When asked whether or not that season-ending result will factor into Saturday's affair, Heaps offered a quick and honest response.
"We're onto the focus here [and] playing them at our place," Heaps said.
The Revs concluded practice with an intrasquad scrimmage, providing some insight into the starting lineup and reserves. While no surprises surfaced, each team's lineup is below.