Last week, Xavier Kouassi made his debut for the New England Revolution, playing 79 minutes against FC Dallas. This week, the Designated Player didn’t see the field. This may seem concerning, but in reality, it’s more precautionary than anything else.
“He could’ve played minutes tonight,” head coach Jay Heaps explained. “I think once we had thought the game was a little bit more manageable, we wanted to make sure that we got him another little bit of rest. He took an injury right before the Dallas game and just kind of got a little bit exasperated in his foot.”
Kouassi’s first appearance with the Revs came with plenty of praise. Scott Caldwell called him “outstanding,” noting that he was “really good positionally and [with] ball-winning.” Heaps agreed, saying “it was hard to take him out.”
The reviews become more impressive when you consider that Kouassi went over 400 days without playing a competitive match. Despite signing with the Revs last year, the midfielder never suited up for the team in 2016 because of a knee injury he suffered while with FC Sion.
Kouassi is now fully healed and Saturday’s omission shouldn’t be viewed as a setback, especially because it was a different injury that held him out.
“He was 100 percent,” Heaps explained. “It’s just a matter of fitness and deciding whether we wanted to put him through that. He was ready to play anywhere [between] thirty to sixty minutes tonight. We just didn’t want to put him at risk if we didn’t need to.”