Tuesday, April 1, 2008

From the Stands: Early Injury Bug

So the calendar has just hit April and already I am reading about Twellman being out for at least a month and a half and Ralston out at least 3 weeks. At first I thought, it was an April Fool's joke, but alas it wasn't just a horribly mean gag played on me. Eventually I got around to thinking about this and the result may not be all that bad. Yes a knee injury is never what you want to hear for a professional athlete like Twellman' torn meniscus. However, if he manages to get through the surgery and is able to make a full recovery by mid-May, he would miss approximately 8 games, however, they would all be early season MLS regular season matches. The joy of the MLS season, as long as you aren't hoping for the Supporter's Shield, an early season tough run would not hurt the Revs too much. It might have been nice to see Mansally and Twellman build up a relationship, but it will benefit the entire strike force in the long run. Having Fernandez, Dube, Mansally and Cristman all battling it out for 2 spots up top should lead to some interesting competition in training which should just improve them all even more.

The Ralston shoulder injury in a way could have a very similar effect, it might force Nicol to see how Castro looks in the center which is where I thought he would be the most dangerous. With Khano coming back from national team duty it would make perfect sense to slot him on the left and move Castro to the center. After Nicol has admitted speaking to the Honduran national team manager, this does seem a possible move. Castro might benefit having the pace of Smith and Nyassi on the wings, and Joseph and Larentowicz protecting his back side. With all those options, Castro trying a few of those sneaky passes or ball tricks in the middle would not be as fatal as if it gets stolen on the wing.

I hate to try and find a silver lining in any injury, we all understand in the short term having Twellman and Ralston would be very good for our squad, but it is a long season. Having them come back in a few weeks fully healthy while the new players get integrated into the squad so quickly will only help as the SuperLiga, the Olympics, World Cup Qualifying, the Champion's League, US Open Cup or the MLS Playoffs gear up later in the season. Injuries are a big part of any campaign, it will be interesting to see how the Revs cope so early in the season, but more importantly it will be interesting to see how the time will be utilized by young players and players returning to the lineup like a Joe Franchino.

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