Lechner's role is loud and clear

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Flo Lechner isn’t the quiet type. That much is certain.

On Sunday, Lechner, who suffered a fifth metatarsal fracture in his right foot two months ago, was back on the field in the Revolution’s reserve game against Columbus -- and made sure to let everyone know about it.

Whether it was a shout of encouragement, instruction or critique, the 31-year-old wingback was none too shy about chatting it up with his teammates -- even if he cranked the decibel level up to get his point across.

“Sometimes, I yell too much,” Lechner said. “For a lot of guys, it’s too much for them. But I don’t mean it negatively.”

Lechner’s loud, German-tinged accent echoing around the pitch would strike some as harsh or unwelcoming. Here he was, the former Bundesliga 2 veteran, out to scare his younger teammates at any given opportunity.

But it would be a mistake to think that. Although Lechner’s serious gaze and unshaven face may come across as threatening and unfriendly, the veteran defender is just as easy to flash a smile or burst into laughter at any given moment.

While his good-natured, outgoing personality lends itself to being a model teammate, Revolution assistant coach Jay Miller sees Lechner’s presence as a boon to a team that’s brimming with young players.

“He’s an experienced player,” Miller said. “One of the best teachers for younger players is senior players. So we just felt that he brought that nice dimension to the team (on Sunday).”

It’s a dimension that the Revolution haven’t seen enough of since he was signed on March 14. He played his first MLS minutes as a substitute in the March 31 contest against the Galaxy, and earned his first MLS start on April 5 against Dallas.

But days later, Lechner was shelved when he sustain the fracture to his right foot. Since then, he has worked with the team’s medical and training staffs to get back on the field as soon as possible.

Recently, his recovery progressed to the point where he was able to play his first full game on Sunday.

“It’s very important to play 90 minutes,” Lechner said. “We practice every day, but playing (in a game) is another thing. That’s why it’s good for me to play 90 minutes.”

Stationed at the right back spot, Lechner looked like a player anxious to go 90 minutes. He linked with his midfielders and disrupted the runs of Crew midfielder Bernardo Anor often. More importantly, he used his experience and technique to guide the reserve team -- which was chock full of young players -- to a 1-0 shutout win.

“I’m an older guy with a lot of experience in Europe and that’s (important),” Lechner said. “The young guys are very good and have good soccer skills. The only thing is that they must learn more. They have to (make) the mistakes and learn (from) it, and when I can help them, it’s good for me and it’s good for the team.”

Aside from his playing abilities, that’s really what Lechner brings to the table: guidance. He knows his role and understands it well. And even though his teaching mantra may be “Do as I say and as I do,” his teammates don’t begrudge his expressive personality.

“They know me,” Lechner said, with a laugh. “And they also know, ‘OK, when Flo’s talking and Flo’s yelling, it’s not (meant to be) negative.’ It’s only a little bit louder so they can hear me.”