By Ryan Fleming
The MLS season has been over for about a month now. League Champions, the Colorado Rapids, are surely still celebrating somewhere in Colorado, even though most of the Midwest is lost, packed beneath feet of snow.
Here, in Massachusetts, the snow hasn’t quite reached us, but for the New England Revolution, the snow could have came months ago and it wouldn’t have mattered.
The Revs flopped this season, aided by some bad luck and were, for all intents and purposes, out of the playoffs a couple months before the playoff seeds were slated.
Amongst the Revolution supporters, there were cries for a designated player that were unheard all season. There were rumors thrown about about a possible link to a player or two, but this is soccer, rumors manifest and live here.
Longtime fans are looking for Mike Burns, Revolution Vice President, Player Personnel and manager Steve Nicol to make their dreams a reality.
For the first time in nine seasons, the Revs missed out on the playoffs. Not surprising, but certainly wasn’t expected when the season kicked off in March. For 30 games, goals were hard to come by. Players able to play a full 90 minutes was as scarce as finding a job these days.
More often than not the players brought in to provide some support for the seasoned veterans didn’t live up to their expectation, or just simply didn’t do what Nicol and Burns brought them to do.
For this 2010/2011 offseason, the Revs could go a long way if they signed a designated player. For three years now, the Revs have watched as their rival, New York, signed the likes of Juan Pablo Angel, Rafa Marquez and most recently former Arsenal sensation Thierry Henry.
Saying the Revs wind up with a player as notable as Angel of Henry is unlikely and more importantly, unfair. But the forgein players the duo of Burns and Nicol have brought in, save for team-MVP Marko Perovic, have been less than glamorous.
When the 2011 MLS Superdraft comes around in January, the Revs could do themselves a favor getting quality players. New England owns six picks in three rounds, three alone in the final round. In last year’s draft the Revs chose Zach Schilawski, Seth Sinovic, Zak Boggs and Jason Griffiths.
Schilawski and Boggs made their presence known to the MLS and the Revolution faithful. Schilawski endured a torrid second half of the year. The former Demon Deacon stand out didn’t manage a shot on goal in his last eight appearances. Boggs, meanwhile, suffered a concussion in training in late June and missed the entire second half.
Sinovic was one of the Revs bright spots this season. The defender was often one of the most consistent players on the field, making 20 appearances, 18 of those starts.
When the Revs handed in their list of untouchable players for the 2010 Expansion Draft, they made a mistake. Fortunately, the two new teams, the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Portland Timbers, didn’t catch it. Pat Phelan, a stalwart of the Revolution midfield, wasn’t on the list. Phelan was also overlooked by the MLS newcomers, so his place on the Revs roster will stay. It is yet unseen if the lack of confidence the Revs have on Phelan’s ability will affect him.
The need for a designated player, the ability to scout effectively and come out with quality players in the SuperDraft, along with a little luck on keeping Phelan, are just three steps in the right direction to a successful future to a team whose fans have earned it after all the painful endings the Revs have handed them in recent years.
Ryan Fleming can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.