By Ryan Fleming
The New England Revolution, along with the rest of the MLS, came out with its protected list of players for Wednesday’s Expansion Draft. The Vancouver Whitecaps and the Portland Timbers will go through the pool of players in a 10 round selection process.
Interestingly enough, the Revs took a different approach at this year’s protected list. Both Bobby Shuttleworth and long-time goalkeeper Matt Reis were both on the Revs’ exclusive list – the only team in the MLS to have two keepers on it.
Also on the list was Shalrie Joseph, Kevin Alston and team MVP Marko Perovic. You can see both lists here.
The Revolution’s move is alarming and quite silly because the team is leaving quality players off of the protected list who are apt to be selected to either of the two expansion sides.
Pat Phelan, for one, is a player that should be included on the Revs’ “can’t have” list. Not one of the more notable players on the team, Phelan gives the Revolution a certain invaluable workhorse attitude that, frankly, the sport is lacking. Proving his value at the end of the year, Phelan showed his determination and work ethic can provide results. The red-haired midfielder made the most appearances for the Revs and once picked, will surely be added to the list of other (Jeff Larentowicz) red-heads the Revs wished they still had.
In regards to Ilja Stolica, another member the Revs left off their untouchable list, he happened to be the odd man out.
Following the rules of the league, the Revs were forced to claim three of their five international players – team MVP Marko Perovic, winger Sainey Nyassi, and defender Emmanuel Osei. With this decision the Revs made a statement, and a good one. With Nyassi only being 21 years young, he has plenty of upside and has impressive pace to go along with a bundle of potential.
Osei may not have impressed many of the Revolution fans with his risk taking tackles and his poorly timed fouls in the Revs end of the field, but he makes less than teachers and Starbucks employees. Stolica makes major money on the Revs roster, and keeping Osei’s minimal contract and his hard nosed tackling allows for more movement than if the team kept the 31 year old Serbian off the list. Osei’s price and experience would have made him a perfect pick for either the Timbers or the Whitecaps.
If Phelan goes to either Vancouver or Portland the Revs will regret their decision to lock him up. He has earned his place as a resilient, hard-nosed midfielder who will fight for every yard. His impending departure will hurt more than will initially lead on. Worse yet, this non-inclusion might hurt him emotionally. And Revs fans may never see that same passion again.
Ryan Fleming can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org