Mystery Surrounds Gonçalves’ Absence

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/capturedimages.biz

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/capturedimages.biz

The absence of New England Revolution captain Jose Goncalves from the club’s gameday 18 on Saturday at Philadelphia was a curious one by any measure. But there is conflicting information regarding the circumstances that led to the situation.

During the match, veteran soccer journalist Ives Galarcep revealed via Twitter that Goncalves’ absence was due to the captain’s unwillingness to set aside contract squabbles, and that the decision not to include the 2013 Defender of the Year was made earlier in the week.

 

Goncalves was present at training on Tuesday, but was not spotted at training on Wednesday, which appears to confirm that the decision to exclude Goncalves from the gameday 18 was, indeed, made days prior to Saturday’s clash.

But according to a source close to Goncalves, the 2013 Defender of the Year was never given an ultimatum.

“Jose was not presented with an ultimatum about playing and he wanted to play for the team in the game against Philadelphia,” the source said. “He strongly supports the team and wants to help them in any way he can.”

Following the game, Heaps was asked about Goncalves’ absence on the 18, but he declined to give specifics.

“Our focus is to put the best players on the field for this game,” Heaps said. “We tried to draw up a gameplan for this game. We wanted to put the best players that we could to get through this match.”

Prior to Saturday’s game, Goncalves had played every single minute of every MLS match for the Revolution. He was originally brought to New England via loan from Swiss side Sion FC, which agreed to bankroll the majority of Goncalves’ salary in 2013.

But after the Revolution exercised the purchase option contained in the loan agreement, Goncalves expressed his displeasure with the terms of his 2014 contract, even though it reportedly made him the second-highest paid defender in MLS.

He saw sporadic action during the preseason (185 minutes), but started in last week’s 4-0 season-opening loss in Houston, which marked the Revolution’s worst defeat in nearly four years.

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About Brian O'Connell

Brian O'Connell serves as editor and staff writer at New England Soccer Today. He's also the Revolution beat writer for ESPNBoston.com, and is Officer at Large for the North American Soccer Reporters. He regularly contributes to The Associated Press, and has been featured on MLSSoccer.com & RevsNet.com. Follow him on Twitter: @BrianOConnell21 or contact him via e-mail at BOConnell21@aol.com