For the first time in the 2015 season the New England Revolution have a bit of good news to report: Jermaine Jones is back.
The club reported today via Twitter that the U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder is back in training after having successful sports hernia surgery.
Here is the official tweet that the club sent out:
Although he will likely not suit up for the Revolution when they take on the San Jose Earthquakes (3/28 3pm MLS Live) Jones did say that he expects to be back “a week, two weeks that I have to go.”
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Jones signed a Designated Player deal with the Revolution last August after having had a very successful World Cup campaign with the USMNT. He made 10 regular season appearances with the Revolution last season, scoring 2 goals and tallying 3 assists. He also featured prominently for the club in their run to the 2014 MLS Cup.
Prior to coming to MLS Jones had played most of his club career in Germany. He made over 152 appearances with Schalke 04. He also spent some time with Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer Leverkusen, in England with Blackburn, and in Turkey with Besiktas.
In terms what he brings to the pitch, Jones is best if he can play as a defensive midfielder. He has the size and strength to go against an opponents attackers on 50-50 challenges and can make the decisive clear. He has also shown a willingness to go on the attack when the time calls for it, giving the Revolution another option up front.
Without him in the starting eleven this season the Revolution have struggled to maintain their form in the midfield. Having Jones as a defensive midfielder allowed Lee Nguyen (22 goals, 8 assists in 2014) to be more of an attacking midfielder and to orchestrate scoring opportunities without needing to worry about counter-attacks. But without Jones, Nguyen has to be more of a two-way player which compromises the Revolution attack.
In three games in 2015, the Revolution have yet to score a single goal. They have also only had 6 shots on goal, which is tied for lowest in the league. Forward Juan Agudelo appears to still be getting back into form after being stuck in contract limbo for 6 months (he signed to play with Stoke City but was unable to appear due to work permit issues). But their attack is limited with Nguyen having to worry about counter-attacks.
The one benefit for Jones’ injury is that he should be well-rested when he gets back. Considering that he went from Schalke 04 to Besiktas to the World Cup to the New England Revolution last season with minimal time to rest he performed quite well. But at 33 years old he does need to rest and to take time to recover. Given the number of playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, it would seem now is a prudent time to heal.
Against the San Jose Earthquakes, expect Revolution coach Jay Heaps to use Scott Caldwell in the midfield until Jones can return. Caldwell, a Homegrown Academy player, has made 55 appearances with the club since becoming a professional player in 2013.