New England midfielder Shalrie Joseph looks set to miss hissecond consecutive match with a right hip flexor strain when the Revolutionvisits D.C. United on Saturday night.
Joseph sustained the injury two weeks ago as the Revolutionwrapped up a preseason trip to North Carolina and missed out on last Saturday'sseason-opening 1-0 loss at Los Angeles.
Revolution coach Steve Nicol held out hope this week thatJoseph could recover in time to feature against United, but expressed doubtthat his influential midfielder would be able to take up his typical role incentral midfield. Nicol told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday that he wanted to assessJoseph's fitness on Friday morning before deciding whether to include him inthe squad for Saturday's match.
“We were hoping he would be fit, but he is struggling,”Nicol said. “I'm guessing next weekend's an absolute certainty, but thisweekend is questionable.”
If Joseph is unable to play against United, Nicol said hewould look to those players who started last week to raise the level of theirgames to compensate for his absence.
“We obviously miss him, but any team would miss him,” Nicolsaid. “The guys who started last week now have a good idea of what is comingand what is expected of them. We're looking to progress from where we were lastweekend.”
Joseph isn't the only player expected to miss out. Long-terminjury victims Matt Reis [left shoulder and knee surgeries] and Taylor Twellman[head and neck symptoms] remain sidelined, while Nico Colaluca [left kneesprain] and Edgaras Jankauskas [right calf strain] are also unavailable.Mauricio Castro will serve the second match of a two-game ban incurred duringthe second leg of last year's Eastern Conference semifinals defeat to Chicago.
New England defender Cory Gibbs told MLSsoccer.com that heand his teammates need to push the lingering injury concerns to one side andfocus on picking up a victory against United.
“It's not only about being away and having injuries,” Gibbssaid. “We have to look over it and we have. As a unit, we know whoever has tostep up has to do well and I think that's something we'll improve upon in D.C.this weekend. We want three points.”