New England Soccer Today

Heaps: Jones ‘At His Best’ w/ Club & Country in Mix

Photo Credit: Jeff Bernstein

Photo Credit: Jeff Bernstein

There’s no question that Revolution coach Jay Heaps would love to have midfielder Jermaine Jones at his disposal this weekend against Orlando City. But when U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann calls, Jones has always answered, which Heaps believes is, on the whole, a positive development for the locals.

Prior to Tuesday’s training, Heaps told the media that his superstar midfielder plays some of his best soccer when he’s also in the mix for U.S. action.

“It’s a good thing for him going forward as he gets back into the mix with helping the national team from a mentality standpoint,” Heaps said. “I think Jermaine’s definitely at his best when he’s playing for club and country.”

Jones joined the U.S. camp on Monday ahead of the squad’s friendlies against Peru on Friday and Brazil on Tuesday, the latter which will be played in Foxborough. The call-up is the first for Jones since the January camp, which concluded with the 33-year-old midfielder undergoing the first of two sports hernia surgeries he’d need this year.

The loss for the weekend doesn’t quite come at an opportune time. After spending weeks on the sidelines following his second sports hernia surgery, which he underwent in June, Jones returned to action in early-August. More recently, he registered a performance against the Union that Heaps couldn’t help but compliment.

“Jermaine was really good,” Heaps said. “His overall presence in that first half, and the first 15 minutes of the second half was spot-on. He was excellent, so losing him now when we just started to get him back in is tough.”

To fill the void left by Jones’ absence, Daigo Kobayashi will likely be called upon to take on a larger role this weekend.

“We won’t have that grit like we do when Jermaine’s in there,” Revolution midfielder Lee Nguyen told the media earlier this week. “But Daigo’s a veteran and he’s very technical and hopefully we can try to keep more possession with him in there.”

Granted, the Revolution won’t be the only team in Saturday’s clash at Gillette Stadium – which will feature a temporary grass surface ahead of Tuesday’s U.S.-Brazil tilt – missing a major piece of its identity.

Orlando City won’t have the services of Brazilian international Kaka this weekend, forcing coach Adrian Heath to also undertake a tweak or two to make up for the loss.

“This league is based upon that,” Heaps said. “What is does your team look like when a key guy goes down, and how do you react to it?”

Leave a Reply