Add Zacahery Herivaux to the list of midfield uncertainties for the Revolution.
Per a report from Revolution Senior Writer and Editor Jeff Lemieux, Herivaux will need “several weeks” of treatment after suffering ankle and knee injuries during last week’s match against the Houston Dynamo. With midfield depth already a concern, Herivaux’s injury casts an even darker shadow over a suddenly thin unit.
Heaps said Herivaux's injury is to his ankle and knee. "It was a pretty nasty challenge." Has "a couple more weeks of treatment." #NERevs— Jeff Lemieux (@jeff_lemieux) February 20, 2017
At the onset of preseason camp, Revolution fans anticipated that Xavier Kouassi, who tore his ACL in Switzerland last January, would enter the season in full health. Yet the defensive midfielder played just 17 minutes against the Dynamo last Wednesday and did not appear in Saturday’s match against the Colorado Rapids. Though he did participate in an off-field scrimmage Saturday evening, Kouassi appears several weeks—if not months—from match fitness.
Credit the Revolution for taking a safety-first approach with its promising Designated Player; recovery from ACL surgery is often a long and winding journey. But most, if not all, Revolution pundits expected Kouassi to play a bigger role during this month’s Desert Diamond Cup. Now, all signs point toward a gradual build toward regular-season minutes, meaning Kouassi may not become a regular starter until late spring or early summer.
In Kouassi’s absence, Herivaux represented a strong candidate to pick up regular-season minutes. Instead, Herivaux will likely spend these minutes recovering from his own injury.
That leaves Scott Caldwell and Daigo Kobayashi to hold down the fort. Caldwell, originally expected to feature out wide in a diamond midfield, would need to prove he has the strength to occupy the holding spot on his own. Kobayashi only went 90 minutes once last season while primarily featuring as a late-match substitute.
Kelyn Rowe previously featured in a defensive midfield role for the Revolution, but offers the most value in a more overt attacking position.
All of this uncertainty will create a challenge for Jay Heaps. In all likelihood, he will employ a “defensive midfielder by committee” approach through the season’s first several weeks, fielding some combination of Kouassi, Caldwell, Kobayashi and Rowe.
Once Kouassi returns to full fitness—and Herivaux slots back into his role as an integral depth piece—Revolution fans can breathe easy; Heaps & Co. have built a strong defensive midfield unit.
But for the next several weeks, breathing may not come so easy.