By Ryan Fleming
The New England Revolution continue to flip and flop their roster with moves that many could see coming. There are those, still, that have many losing their hair, following up with the obligatory “here we go again” motto.
So far the Revs declined contact options on Rajko Lekic, Monsef Zerka and declined the option to purchase the on-loan Milton Caraglio. The silly decision not to pick up Lekic’s contract and Caraglio’s have me already wondering what Heaps is thinking. Caraglio was one of the best players for the Revolution since joining the team on August 2, scoring three goals in 12 appearances.
The numbers themselves don’t really seem that impressive – one goal every four matches? Yes, a typical MLS striker could produce such numbers. But on a team that struggled to flirt with goal-scoring opportunities, the Argentinian provided poise and confidence on a team that struggled with said characteristics. A player that many doubted due to his injury-ridden history, Caraglio showed he can play in the MLS and adopted to the rough style of the league.
The declination of Lekic’s contact is equally confusing. In 23 appearances for the Revs, the Dane scored six goals, good for second on a goal-starved team. The only gripe with Lekic is his occasional lethargic effort. The Danish international was occasionally seen walking around the pitch, not really giving notice to what was going on, jogging rather than sprinting.
The absence of both Caraglio and Lekic leaves a question that has haunted the Revs for the past few season “who will score the goals?”
On the defensive side of the ball, the Revs declined contract options on Ryan Cochrane, Pat Phelan and Franco Coria. Coria, the 23-year-old defender, shined early on for the Revs, but after going down with an MCL sprain on August 9, the Argentinian was never the same.
Phelan, a three year veteran of the MLS, made 80 appearances for the Revs, playing mostly defensive midfield. It seemed as if Phelan and the Revs were never a perfect fit, even since New England traded for the Wake Forest product following the 2008 MLS SuperDraft. The Revs chose not to protect Phelan in the re-entry draft last year, and were fortunate when he wasn’t snapped up by another club, filling in slots when players went down, playing in 20 games.
Cochrane, who has played in the league since 2004, seems to be destined to be a MLS journeyman. The Revs, his third team after going from San Jose to Houston, back to San Jose, to Houston, then finally New England, made 22 important starts for the struggling Revs, but the Revs are seemingly looking for more skilled, youthful talent at this position.
With all the roster moves as of late it is obvious the Heaps and General Manager Michael Burns are looking for talented, youthful players and rolling the dice on picking up one or both of those attributes in the re-entry draft. If the Revs number doesn’t come up, Heaps and Burns will have to fill an array of slots with talent and youth, something easier said than done.
Ryan Fleming can be reached at email@example.com