The MLS summer transfer window opens tomorrow and the New England Revolution, according to team president Brian Billelo, are looking to bring in “higher end roster guys,” which most likely means a DP or TAM player since he also said that, “we could wind up bringing in another guy that’s not a DP or TAM as well—we have a little bit of roster space from a cap perspective.” Coach Jay Heaps has echoed the same thoughts recently, “We’ve got to fill in and continue to try and find the right players that are going to fit for us and spend a lot of time doing it.”
The Revs have also made a deal with San Jose that moves them into second place in the Allocation Process. What is that, you ask? It’s this:
The Allocation Process is the mechanism used to determine which MLS Club has first priority to acquire a player listed on the Allocation Ranking List. The list consists of (i) select U.S. Men’s National Team players, (ii) elite youth U.S. National Team players, or (iii) former MLS players returning to MLS after joining a non-MLS club for a transfer fee greater than $500,000.
If you want more details of the process or the deal with San Jose, click the link.
This sounds…exciting…I guess? Here is the list of players we’re talking about:
|Anangono, Juan||LDU Quito (ECU)||Transfer|
|Cameron, Geoff||Stoke City (ENG)||Transfer|
|Castillo, Fabian||Trabzonspor (TUR)||Transfer|
|Flores, Junior||Borussia Dortmund (GER)||Youth USMNT|
|Gonzalez, Giancarlo||Palermo (ITA)||Transfer|
|Gonzalez, Omar||Pachuca (MEX)||Transfer|
|Green, Julian||VfB Stuttgart (GER)||Youth USMNT|
|Henry, Doneil||West Ham Utd (ENG)||Transfer|
|Johannsson, Aron||Werder Bremen (GER)||Core Senior USMNT|
|Johnson, Fabian||Borussia Monchengladbach (GER)||Core Senior USMNT|
|Martins, Obafemi||Shanghai Greenland Shenhua (CHN)||Transfer|
|Miazga, Matt||Chelsea (ENG)||Transfer|
|Najar, Andy||Anderlecht (BEL)||Transfer|
|Nemeth, Krisztian||Al-Gharafa (QAR)||Transfer|
|Poku, Kwadwo||Miami FC (NASL)||Transfer|
|Pulisic, Christian||Borussia Dortmund (GER)||Youth USMNT|
|Ream, Tim||Fulham (ENG)||Transfer|
|Rivero, Octavio||Colo Colo (CHI)||Transfer|
|Rochat, Alain||BSC Young Boys (SWI)||Transfer|
|Rosell, Oriol||Sporting Clube (POR)||Transfer|
|Rubin, Rubio||FC Utrecht (NED)||Youth USMNT|
|Sanchez, Richard||UANL Tigres (MEX)||Transfer|
|Sanvezzo, Camilo||Queretaro (MEX)||Transfer|
|Valencia, Jose Adolfo||Santa Fe (COL)||Transfer|
|Villafana, Jorge||Santos Laguna (MEX)||Transfer|
|Yedlin, DeAndre||Newcastle (ENG)||Transfer|
Honestly, I’m not sure what to say about this list. It’s clear to anyone with a brain that players like Yedlin, Pusilic, Miazga, Green, and Johnson clearly aren’t coming to/back to MLS anytime soon. Either is Geoff Cameron, who has a new deal with Stoke, though he is from Massachusetts… I think the players I find intriuging on this list are Gonzalez and Ream, who would make the defense better immediately, Aron Johannsson, would would be a much better option up front than Teal Bunbury, and Oriol Rosell, who might give the midfield some bite and make New England’s “partnership” with Sporting seem like it’s, you know, real!
All of this “energy” (which, to be very clear is still “potential” and not “kinetic!”) is necessary because what had begun as an “okay” season has hit the skids with the club getting back to its old habit of turning wins into draws and draws into losses. Or, as has been the case recently, skipping right over the draws and turning wins into losses. The chances of making the playoffs are slipping away and something meaningful needs to be done to try to save this and future seasons. The club is making all the right noises and all the right moves to signal that they are going to make a meaningful move, but we’ve all been down this road with the Revs before, haven’t we?
With all of this in mind I thought I’d take a look at the Revolution’s roster and see where some upgrades could be made and perhaps even suggest at whose expense those upgrades could be made.
Goalkeepers are not the problem. Put a decent defense in front of Cody Cropper or Brad Knighton and they will do all that is needed to make the team succesful. Neither is an “elite” goalkeeper, but they make all the necessary plays. If the club gets the other parts of the roster in better shape they can come back to upgrading at goalkeeper, currently it’s just not a priority.
The defenders are part of the problem and that became even more apparent to me as I typed out those names. Let’s take a look… Even when I remind myself that Andrew Farrell is still only 25 years old my first thought is still, “he should be better.” Farrell is strong, athletic, deceptively fast, and more technically gifted than the vast majority of defenders, but he still gives the ball away too often and he still gets caught out of position too often- a problem that would be even more apparent if those physical gifts I just mentioned didn’t bail him out more often than not. I think the Revs should hang on to him but I think the time is rapidly approaching when we may have to admit that Farrell is not going to become a “complete” defender. I like what I’ve seen so far with Benjamin Angoua– a solid professional with a little bite in his game. Does anyone have any idea what Jay Heaps is doing with Chris Tierney?! Last year he was one of the key players on the club and this year he’s in and out of the line-up and more often a substitute than a starter. He has a positive impact every time he plays- as a starter or a substitute- so why isn’t he playing more?! Je-Vaughn Watson…I will personally drive him to the airport if that’s what it takes to get him off of this roster. If he’s not getting an idiotic red card he’s getting an early yellow card that prevents him from defending aggressively for the remainder of the match. In 11 matches this year he has five yellow cards and a red. Enough is enough. Simply put, Antonio Delamea is the best acquisition the Revolution have made in years! Rookie Josh Smith looked “good” to “very good” at the beginning of the season and then he just disappeared from the line-up (except for the recent US Open Cup match)…why? London Woodberry has played twice this year for one of the leakiest defenses in MLS, what does that say?
Only a few players to talk about here. Gershon Koffie has had no impact since returning to the club on loan from Hammarby. The club’s record since his return is 3-5-1. He hasn’t played in all of those matches, nor has he started all he’s played in, but the fact is the club are no better with him. Since making his debut in March of 2013 Donnie Smith– now 26- has been loaned out three times, missed an entire season due to injury, and made six MLS appearances (half of them in 2016) and nine US Open Cup appearances. He has scored one goal (in this year’s cup). How is he still on this roster?
I’m tired of hearing how hard Teal Bunbury works- am I the only one who has ever played on a team with a guy who runs around a lot, huffs, puffs, but in the end, contributes little? That’s Bunbury. His minutes and goals have declined every season since joining the Revolution and on a team with Diego Fagundez, Kai Kamara, and Juan Agudelo the fact that he’s taking any minutes away from them is a joke. If they need to be substituted during a match Brian Wright and Femi Hollinger-Janzen have looked good in cup matches and are itching to show what they can do at the MLS level- they should be given every opportunity to do so.
How does this all shake out? Well, defenders would be my priority, specifically an experienced, “stay at home” kind of player to partner with Delamea and give Tierney (get him back in the team!!) and Farrell the ability to move up a bit when the team is building the attack. Next would be another defensive-minded midfielder to work with Xavier Kouassi or a true “Number 10” who could ping the ball around the field and give Lee Nguyen more freedom to move forward. Finally, a big, back-to-the-goal striker who can hold up the ball, is good in the air, and who is a FINISHER when he gets the chance. In short, the anti-Teal Bunbury.
I should probably say a bit about one other change that could be made and that’s at the position of head coach. I wanted Jay Heaps to become the head coach when Steve Nicol left, but I think this might be his last chance. If he’s given additional “tools” during this transfer window and still can’t get the job done I expect he’ll be out of a job come the end of the season.
Will the Revs “put up” or “shut up,” I don’t know. What I do know is that Zlatan is looking for a club…