By Ryan Fleming
So, it’s settled then. Tim Ream, a product of the New York Red Bulls, is off to Bolton to try to help that shipwreck from becoming the next Concordia, albeit a far less tragic event. Bolton currently boasts the worst, hapless, defense in the English Premier League, allowing a tremendous 47 goals this season, six in the last four games and 16 in their last 10.
What Ream provides to Owen Coyle’s struggling side, which is currently 17th in the league table, is a sure footed defenseman, who has great passing ability with an offensive mind to boot. What makes me think this move is rather questionable is that Ream has the tendency to lapse when pressured – something the struggling Wanderers cannot really afford. But with winnable games coming in the month against Swansea, Norwich and Wigan and even the unpredictable Arsenal, Ream’s presence and youthful guile could prove useful to a defense whose biggest name (Dedryck Boyata) is on loan from Manchester City.
Ream also fits perfectly in the Coyle’s scheme of things. Bolton loves the play the ball on the ground, feet-to-feet passing, which is an area that Ream happens to excel at. It could also be blamed for the amount of goals the team has led up. With Ream in the back, Coyle has increased his chances of getting the ball up the field quicker, while more efficiently than just days ago.
Major League Soccer, itself, has to be smiling. To see a player who has spent his entire professional career in the league elevated to one of the best league’s in the world, gives MLS some needed spotlight. While at New York, the 24-year-old outperformed the lavishly paid Rafa Marquez, who was brought in to be a leader and ended more as a goat for some of his on-field antics and performances. The former first round pick solidified Hans Backe’s backline and provided former United States Men’s National Coach Bob Bradley a young, exciting option.
Personally, the move has to be exciting. It comes at a time where there’s steady competition around the National Team and Ream’’s at an age where development is key. Staying in MLS could see his learning curve straighting out, but perhaps a move to the physical EPL and a struggling Bolton defense, where his help is wanted, gives Ream a chance at becoming the centre back that Jurgen Klinsmann and the USMNT needs for future success.
Ryan Fleming can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.