The New New England Revolution?

MLS Rumors reporting that a club is on the move, and it may be New England.

Destination.... New England

Speculation and unsubstantiated claims of overheard conversations in the ownership box point to the Krafts selling out to Hartford Connecticut investor called Northlands Investment Group. Northlands manages both Rentschler Field & the Hartford Civic Center along with AEG & wanted a United Football League team in Rentschler. Conditions of the sale prohibit a UFL team (which would protect the Patriots interest), and the current owner (presumably Kraft) would buy into the ownership of NHL franchise. They've also proposed building a $250 million arena in order to land the new NHL team all seems to fit with the rumors as reported on

Not 100% convinced yet.... I just don't get the feeling that the Kraft family has really thought this through. With all the renovations they've done to Gillette Stadium plus the building of Patriot Place, you would think that they would want to maximize the return on their investment. But the more I read it, the more likely it seems.

Compared to Galaxy's Marketing, Revolution Come Up Short

The following is in response to Dave Denholm's (ESPN 710 AM, Los Angeles) argument (heard September 16 on Around the League in 90 Minutes, on that the Galaxy have saved MLS by signing Beckham, and went on to attack other teams in the league for not following suit and signing some big name players. His tirade ruffled more than a few feathers, and his comments provoked a number of dissidents into firing back at him, calling his attack on the rest of the league unwarranted.

I don't think so.

Yes Denholm's arguments can be repetitive, and often tired and overused, but the ruckus he stirred up last Tuesday was damn good radio. Misguided and sad, but damn good radio.

And while his argument was ...well... argumentative, it was not without some merit. New England has been terrible in it's marketing efforts. They mainly concentrate on youth soccer programs and soccer moms. The only thing that saves them is the annual Brazil vs whoever match. If they would spend some money and advertise during the Red Sox or Patriots games.... they may get some results. While those markets are hard to tap into, they aren't even trying. They should at least advertise on the local sports networks. there are tons of SPORTS fans here that are interested in more than Baseball and Grid Iron Football. They have consistently failed to make this team appealing to the casual soccer fan, not to mention the hordes of Celtic fans (not to be confused with Celtics, with an 's') who crowded the stadium when they would play the Revs.

I also agree with his point about bringing in Beckham is what saved this league. It put MLS on the world map, but now the league needs to do something about it. Yeah we won SuperLiga, but in the global game that means nothing. With the amount of kids who play this sport every day, this sport should be bigger than baseball. But it isn't. It's time to bring the league into the same scale as the rest of the world. But who is going to step up and make the league better? It has to start with the ownership of the league. If we want to attract world class talent, we need to get rid of the salary cap, because anyone of quality is not going to play for peanuts. We also need to get rid of the plastic pitches, because anyone of quality will scoff at the idea of playing on artificial surfaces.

If I were working for New England, I would be talking to Ronaldo's (not Chrissy) agent RIGHT NOW. He is still worshiped as a god among the Brazilian population here. If New England signed him we'd have a full house every home game.

And then Denholm would have to find something else to bark about.

Revs show interest in Joe Public's Richardson

Revs among MLS clubs bidding for Joe Public's Guyanese striker Gregory Richardson

Regarding Richardson, Griffith announced that United States Major League Soccer (MLS) clubs Columbus Crew, New England Revolution and San Jose Earthquakes all wanted to sign the fleet-footed Guyanese, following his terrific showing over two legs in the CONCACAF Champions League against the Revolution, including scoring a hat trick in Public's 4-0 victory, in the away leg in Boston earlier this month.

"He has to take his chance now," Griffith said. "What I can say is that it is very unlikely that Gregory Richardson will be a Joe Public player next season."

I look at Richardson as a Kheli Dube who can pass the ball. More importantly he is someone who can sneak behind the defense and put the ball in the net on his own, as well as draw the defense away from Taylor. Dube can score but he needs to play off of other people - like Taylor (who would draw the defense away from him).

I think they need to either get Taylor a partner he can work with - a Dube/Richardson type of player, or a true attacking midfielder, or they need to sell him. If they do sell Twellman, they could easily afford Richardson. But there are so many holes this club need to fill in the off season, I expect that they will try and address these first.

1) Attacking Midfielder - Steve Ralston will not play forever. They need to bring a playmaker in who can play off the forwards as well as set up goals. (Remember Clint Dempsey....). P.S. Shalrie Joseph is NOT this person.

2) Striking PARTNER for Twellman.... not just a forward that lays the ball off for Twellman, but someone that can score on his own and is not afraid of upsetting TT (Richardson, or someone like him)

3) Left wing - Khano Smith is a huge question mark and Mauricio Castro has been a flop and I don't expect him back. I don't see them spending a ton of money for a left footed winger, and expect them to promote from within. Igwe could play left back and Tierney play forward.... but Nicol prefers Tierney at left back. Is Chris Tierney the answer? Who's left?

4) Center Back - Parkhurst is out of contract. Who is going to take his place? Badilla? He has been spotty at best.

5) Assistant coach - if Mariner goes to Seattle (Seattle Mariner... heh) who will be the Robin to Nicol's Batman?

Don't forget there is a new team coming in to the league (Seattle) - which means there will be another Expansion draft. I will be very curious to see who Nicol leaves unprotected. My Money is on Igwe, Castro, Manzanelli, and Warren.

Oh Say Can You See....? A back line made of three...

Parkhurst is back and so is the dreaded return of the three man back line for the witnessed in the game last night against DC United. 

It was with mixed emotions that I listened to the starting lineup.  Michael Parkhurst, returning from the olympics late last week, would be making his first start for the Revs in almost a month.  His return was most welcome as the defense over our last two league games has let in 6 goals, (5 of them scored in the last 15 -20 minutes either game).  However I suspected that it would mean the end of the very effective 4-man back line employed during the Revs historic, undefeated Super Liga Run, with which they shut out their Mexican opponents. 

My suspicions were confirmed when the rest of the line up there was announced.  Noticeably absent was speedy left back Amaechi Igwe, and the more recently favored left footed Chris Tierney.  Both were available as substitutes.

It is no secret that I much prefer the four man back line.  Especially with Igwe and Albright making knifing inward runs from the back, creating space on the wings for the speedy outside players to move into and attack.

But it came as no surprise to me.  It was, after all,  just a matter of time before Steve Nicol returned to his preferred 3-5-2 line up, especially after the collapse of the defense in the last two games.  Granted, the goals were all scored against a lineup that was not only without Parkhurst, but without Shalrie Joseph as well (sent off against Chicago, they score two; suspended for San Jose, they score four). With both of them available for last night's game, I was hopeful to see a 4-4-2 with a reinforced spine of Parkhurst and Joseph. But I didn't see it.

What I did see amazed me. I got up to buy my kids a blanket and what did my wondering eyes see on the pitch but a three man back line consisting of Parkhurst on the right, Heaps in the Center, and Khano Smith at left back.  I shook my head in disbelief....but there he was.  When I returned to my seat, I looked again.... and there was a three man back line, with Parkhurst playing left back, Albright in center and Sainey Nyassi playing right back.

And it went on.  Albright would make a run, and the back line would shift to the right, with Khano dropping back. Heaps would move forward and Nyassi would drop back on the opposite side.  Steve Nicol finally got through to his players and for the first time ever I saw what Nicol has been trying to do. Effectively employ the 3-5-2 with a  three man back line consisting of five players. 

I don't know how Nicol got through to his team, but whatever it was, it worked.  The Revs defense was omnipresent and solid all night long.  There were a couple of close calls, one of which resulted in a rebound for Moreno of DC who capitalized, but that was it.  More impressive to me was the composure they showed on and off the ball, rarely getting out of position and covering well when they did.  There was also only one yellow card for the Revs when Sainey Nyassi made a reckless challenge late in the game (who will be suspended for this weekend due to yellow card accumulation). 

Only in the final minutes, when Nicol made a tactical substitution sending in fullback Chris Tierney for forward Adam Cristman, did the Revs use a four man back line, but by then he had made a 3-5-2 believer out of me. 

At least until this weekend.

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US Open Cup Semis: Revolution were out of it before it started

Fielding a side primarily made up of reserves, the New England Revolution lost a hard fought match Tuesday night, to DC United in the US Open Cup semi-finals.  Despite tying the score before halftime, the "Reservolution" was clearly outmatched by their east coast rivals.

With Twellman, Mansally and Dube all left off the roster nursing injuries, the Revs had only one true forward available to them: Adam Cristman, who has started a few games this season, but has lost his starter status to Dube and Mansally. Playing as a withdrawn forward was the young and untested Brandon Manzanelli.  Joe Germanese, Pat Phelan, and former starter Khano Smith, joined Shalrie in the midfield.  The back line consisted of newcomer Rob Valentino and perennial reserve Gary Flood, along with sometime starter Amaechi Igwe at left back.  Relegated to Right Back was another former starter Wells Thompson.

DC United fielded their senior squad.

To his credit, Steve Nicol gave the team that got him to the semis, primarily a reserve side, the opportunity to prove themselves. Still, I have to question how much Nicol really wanted to win this. He fielded only one regular starter in Shalrie Joseph.  Reis, Ralston, Larentowicz, Castro, Nyassi, Tierney, and Heaps were all left at home, leaving only Albright, Brill, and Tyler available on the bench.  They even flew in Brad Knighton from Portland to serve as backup goal keeper, to save Matt Reis for this weekend's match in San Jose. 

The Revs have an unbelievable schedule coming up which will test the limits of their core group of players.  New England are on a two game per week schedule, starting last week with the SuperLiga final, and continuing through the first week of September.  On the line for the Revs is the MLS Cup, the Supporters Shield, as well as CONCACAF Champions League qualifying.  It's easy to see how the US Open Cup, a tournament that players play primarily for bragging rights only, as there is little reward for the teams other than a trophy, would take a back seat to the other competitions that offer more prestige and financial reward. 

Nicol may have done the right thing in the end by putting more emphasis on the Revs' MLS Cup campaign.  I just don't buy the fact that he was trying to win the match.

Lalas and Gullitt - The writing was on the wall

It came as no surprise to me that Ruud Gullit and Alexi Lalas are no longer with the LA Galaxy. That the announcement came on the same day was somewhat surprising.

Alexi Lalas was just a matter of time. Personal accomplishments and national team record aside, Lalas' track record as a GM has been less than successful. Lalas is a great spokesman for the league, and his signing of Beckham definitely made headlines (not to mention sold some shirts), but his mismanagement of teams (three clubs in the last six years) speaks for itself. Alexi ought to consider a career in the league office, or in the booth at ESPN. However, I expect that he will sign on with an expansion team as a GM (Philadelphia?) and help that team get off the ground.

I am no fan of Gullitt. His playing career aside, his managerial career has not bowled me over. He was handed a great team at Chelsea, and did well there. He then moved to Newcastle where he failed to get any kind of rhythm going, and was summarily dismissed. To come over to the United States and take a team that has history, and undeniable talent, but just as undeniably the worst defense in the league, it was a tall ask to turn the team around. While the scoring has been prolific - Gullitt just could not put together any kind of defense. However, I thought that Gullitt would stick it out the season at least. Now the Galaxy will turn to Cobi Jones. Will he be the second coming of Jason Kreis? For his sake I hope so...however the Galaxy will probably turn to a more proven commodity. Who that person is, time will tell.

Seriously, what more can we expect?

The following was a response I posted on my favorite message board ( to a good friend and fellow Revs supporter in in the country that Hamlet was from.  Twiggs (aka Twiggster, a die hard Leeds supporter) is less than thrilled with Steve Nicol.  I liked my resonse so much that I had to post it here.

Twiggs - agreed that the first 25 minutes WERE shite - Especially Igwe....thank god Heaps is back this weekend. But the rest was a gritty win. We came back from being a goal down twice... that is something that the Revs could definitely NOT do last year. We even came from behind in the penalty kicks!

I think Nicol has done very well with the squad he has. Consider for a moment that 6 of the 11 starters on the pitch last night weren't even on the senior squad last season, and neither Castro nor Tierney were even in the league. Heck Tierney was still in college! Yes the veteran presence of Reis, Ralston, and Joseph carried us last night, but the youngsters stepped up and held Pachuca to a goalless draw until Khano's PK, and the reserves have been getting it done in the US Open Cup as well.

Imagine what this team will be like when Twellman gets his legs back and Parkhurst and Heaps return to the back line. With Albright and Igwe firing balls in from the wings, Ralston can play behind the forwards giving Twellman, Dube and Mansally the support that they need. Nyassi is still burning defenders on the right and Castro is providing great service from the left. To be honest our problem is still the forward line! Dube and Mansally are generating chances but not converting. A veteran presence on the forward line (read Twellman) is what this team needs. Cristman is just not good enough to be more than a supporting forward (no offense Adam).

Now you may ask why hasn't Nicol signed somebody... well frankly that is not his job. It works differently over here, and the GM Craig Tornberg and VP of Player Personnel (and former Revs all star defender) Mike Burns work with Nicol and Mariner to make those deals happen. And with all the fixture congestion plus Nicol coaching the all-star team, he hasn't had any time to even scout out anybody...but you could argue that you don't even need to when your team has been getting it done.

Then there is Noonan. You could argue that he would be the Richie Cunningham to the Fonz that is Taylor Twellman,  but Nicol and co. KNOW Pat Noonan's strengths and weaknesses better than we know our ABC's. By trading him to Columbus, we get an extra draft pick, more allocation money, and we move up in the allocation table (to third place from tenth!- which means when players like McBride and Noonan come back to MLS we will be higher up in the pecking order). Plus we aren't really helping Columbus in the long term, because sooner or later Noonan will break down and end up riding the bench. If he plays more than 15 minutes a game I will be very surprised.

SO it remains to be seen how we fare the rest of the season.  I think this weekend's match against Chicago will be the true test.  But if we lose - you can't blame Nicol.  He has been the most successful coach in MLS history. 
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New England/Dynamo United

MLS Finalists in Super Liga boycott award ceremony

In the aftermath of a hard fought contest between two bitter rivals, there were signs of unity between New England and Houston when they banded together to send the MLS Management a message of discontent.

The gauntlet had been thrown down earlier this week, when players from the Revolution and the Dynamo, announced that they would pool the first and second place prize money, and split the total evenly between all players from both teams in protest to the very small percentage (15%) of the $1,000,000 "prize" money that the players actually would receive.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber was quick to condemn the idea, stating that there would be penalties if this occurred.

Whether the players went ahead with it, or not, was not clear. It was clear, however, even before the game started, that both the Dynamo and the Revolution had other ideas as well.

Just before kick off, instead of having each team take a picture of their own starting line-up, the two teams joined together, inter-mingling the squads, for one group picture. Shouts of "UNION" and "SOLIDARITY" could be faintly heard coming from the stands as the two teams stood together, clearly united.

But the real message was delivered at the end of the game, when the two teams in congratulating each other, to a man exchanged shirts with a player from the opposing team. The two teams gathered away from the stage where the Super Liga Trophy was displayed, awaiting the victors.

In a bold move, the players and coaches of both teams decided to boycott the entire award presentation. The Dynamo players left the field applauding the fans and the opposition without picking up their second place medals. Only captain Wade Barrett and coach Dominic Kinnear picked up their medals, shaking hands with the Commissioner as they did so. Neither set foot on the stage.

Then without any announcement whatsoever, Commissioner Garber went to the stage and picked up the trophy and handed it to Revolution captain Steve Ralston, who shook his hand, and then gave the crowd a small but effective pump of the fist. Then leaving the stage he joined his teammates in front of "The Fort" in the North End of the stadium, where they celebrated with their fans, coaches, and staff. Even owners Robert and Jonathan Kraft joined in the festivities. From there they paraded the trophy around the thousands of the fans who had stayed to celebrate with the victors.

Fireworks went off. Confetti filled the sky. The Minutemen fired their muskets into the air. All over an empty stage.

At the end of the night, the players union had the last word. Today, and tomorrow, there will surely be repercussions. MLS and SUM (Soccer United Marketing, Inc.), the organizers of Super Liga, will surely be working to make sure that the players and the players union do not have the opportunity to stand down from the award ceremony in the future. However, the players and the players union will have something to say as well.

Revs take the power away from Dynamo

Finally the Revs win. It wasn't the prettiest game; the Revs had to come back three times, taking all of extra time and then extra rounds of penalty kicks to do it, but they did.

I have to say, they were lucky to be going in to the half at 1-1. Not counting Igwe's bonehead maneuver of the century which led to Houston's first goal. Ching and DeRosario both missed multiple chances and should have scored.

The second half was very tentative from New England. The Revs almost seemed afraid to pressure the Dynamo. Nyassi stopped running half way through the second half...also seemed unable to feed Albright on the overlapping run, and then kept losing the ball. Twellman looked like he was playing for the first time in months...which of course, he was, but he seemed to expect more "courtesy" from referee Howard Webb. Khano seemed to be getting the better of Greg Waibel but nothing ever came of it except a few missed chances. Chris Tierney seemed to forget how to advance the ball, continually passing back to Igwe rather than playing the ball forward. Igwe's play did improve over the course of the game, but it was not the attacking play that the Revs needed. The second half came to a close uneventfully.

When Kamara scored in extra time I nearly puked. I was literally sick to my stomach. But Ralston and Joseph to the rescue! The two connect again and Shalrie scores a very gritty goal and off we go to penalty kicks.

Reis missed. He hasn't missed in a shootout ever until that point. But he did well to come back and stop three of the Dynamo's kicks for the win (I am still not sure if he got a hand on the last one or if Ashe just missed... but I don't care).

Khano had the chance to win it for us again, and he should have side footed it to his left as Onstad seemed to know he was going to the right. Probably saw Khano's pk in the replay of the Pachuca game.

But who cares in the end .... it was a great night. No awards ceremony - but that is another story. The story of the night is the Revs beat the Dynamo.


Revs beat Atlante in semis; will face Dynamo for third final in two and a half years.

Last Wednesday, the Revs defeated their newest rival, Club Atlante of Cancun, Mexico, 1-0 in the Super Liga semi-finals.

The two sides met earlier this year in a pre-season "friendly," but the game ended up anything but. Because it was a preseason game, there was no limit on the number of substitutes available to each side. Atlante used that to their advantage, making 10 substitutions in the second half, playing a total of 21 different players. The Revs ended up having eight players cautioned and two players ejected in a 1-0 loss.

This time it was New England who would win the battle on the field, in the scorline, and in the referee's book as well.

Atlante started very strong and showed their attacking prowess, testing Matt Reis on a few occasions with legitimate scoring opportunities. The Revs, employing a 4 man back line, weathered the attack as they had done with the other Mexican teams they faced in the tournament. The Revs then began to assert themselves in the midfield, with Shalrie Joseph, Sainey Nyassi, and Kheli Dube clearly making their presence felt by the visiting team, with Dube putting a number of chances off the woodwork or over the bar. In the 30th minute, it was Shalrie Joseph who connected at the end of a free kick from Steve Ralston, heading the ball in to the upper right hand corner, over the hands of the outstretched Atlante keeper and captain, Federico Vilar.

After a strong start to the second half and having the majority of the posession, Atlante resorted to "very aggressive play" (for lack of a less derogatory term) when the Revs started to re-assert their control over the match. Dube nearly connected with Mansally, who should have scored, but put his shot from point blank range well over the bar. Khano Smith also launched a shot off the rebound of a Shalrie Joseph rocket which veered wide of the goal.

The match turned more into a roller derby in the later part of the second half, with Atlante clearly being the aggressors. It was obvious to anyone who saw the game that Atlante was trying to provoke the Revolution into retaliating, in the hopes of getting one of the Revs ejected and gaining a man advantage. However, that strategy, which may have worked for Atlante in the preseason, backfired on them resulting in the ejection of Columbian striker Luis Gabriel Rey.

Later in the game, Atlante subs who were warming up behind Matt Reis actually jumped over the barrier when Revs players confronted Daniel Arreola for not playing the ball out when a Revs player was down up field. Surprisingly, the referee took no action against the players illegally on the field, and then allowed the Atlante captain Vilar time to return to his goal when the Revs were ready to play.

In the final minutes, a second caution resulted in the ejection of Atlante's Alan Zamora, and tempers began to flare. The final whistle did not come soon enough, and even as the match ended, the Revs were accosted by several of the Atlante players, including Vilar, resulting in more cautions and ejections for Revs defender Jay Heaps and Vilar himself.

But that did not stop the heated brawl on the pitch. Both benches cleared and players from both sides were getting at it. Coaches and Staff were trying to restrain the players until Security made it's way to the field. But it didn't stop there either. Atlante Players and Staff were antagonizing Revolution players and Security. One of the Atlante coaches was going after Khano Smith, and Vilar had to be restrained from attacking a stadium official.

New England and Atlante may meet again later this summer in the CONCACAF Champions League. If the Revolution win their matches against Joe Public FC of Trinidad and Tobago, both Atlante and New England will be in the same qualifying group. New England would then travel to Atlante on Tuesday, Sept. 30, while the Revolution would host the return leg on Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Rematch for Redemption

The Revolution got their revenge on Atlante. Now it's time to get their revenge on their MLS rivals, The Houston Dynamo.

Tonight, the Revolution host their new nemesis in MLS Cup Finals competition at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. The Dynamo will be playing on short rest (played over the weekend) and without defender Eddie Robinson as well as midfielder Richard Mulrooney. The Revs defense will be without Olympian Michael Parkhurst and the suspended Jay Heaps, but will look to the revitalized bench and Pat Phelan to partner with Jeff Larentowicz in the back line if they play a 4-4-2. Twellman and Cristman are also available.

Predicted lineup for the Revolution:

Shalrie Joseph - Beast of the East

Where would the Revs be without the most feared central midfielder in MLS. For the second straight game in the tournament, Shalrie Joseph has scored the decisive goal. The first was the tying goal against Chivas USA, earning the Revs a draw and guaranteeing them a spot in the Semi-Finals. The second was the only goal scored in the semis against Atlante. Both goals he scored with his head.

In between the two games, Shalrie started for the MLS All-Star team against West Ham United; and although he didn't win the award this year, he was clearly man of the match in the eyes of many pundits around the world, once again raising speculation as to Shalrie's future in the MLS and whether he will finally find himself playing for a European side.

In my most humble opinion, I would sooner sell Taylor Twellman and use the money to sign Shalrie as a designated player, rather than risk losing him to an overseas club. Taylor may be the face of the franchise, but Shalrie is the backbone.

Just when you thought it was safe in the deep end of the pool...

Revolution getting creative - The Boston Globe

I have been talking a lot about depth this season, and how nice it is to have it. Looks like we may be testing that depth a bit more than anticipated this summer.

Kenny Mansally and Kheli Dube are slated to start again this weekend against Columbus, with Taylor Twellman out for another few weeks while he is nursing his ankle.

After that however, it gets a bit more shallow in the available forwards' end of the pool.

Mansally has been called up for National Team duty with The word on Sainey Nyassi yet. That leaves Dube, Adam Cristman, and rookies Spencer Wadsworth, and Joe Germanese as potential backups.

Mansally, despite his low goal production this spring, has been Nicol's number one choice at striker since the beginning of the season while Twellman recovered from Surgery. The pair were set to be a lethal tandem at the front, pushing 2nd year Cristman to the substitute's bench as the backup.

Cristman has since moved even further down in the pecking order with the emergence of Dube. Last week, it was Dube that got the start in Twellman's absence. Cristman only saw limited minutes against San Jose at the end of the game.

Last year, Cristman was the first choice as a replacement, filling in for both Noonan and Twellman while they split time on the injured list. This year it is a different story for Cristman. Even when Twellman was so obviously injured in his first match of the season, Cristman stayed on the bench, leaving Twellman on the field, noticeably hobbling. Apparently Nicol thought an injured Twellman was better than a rested Cristman.

Well, Cristman will have his chance again, as Mansally will be out till the end of June, and Twellman returning mid month. He would do well to make the most of it, or he may end up playing somewhere else.

Two new signings make for interesting developments up front

New England Revolution

With the additions of Joe Germanese and Brandon Manzonelli, the Revolution are adding more and more depth at positions where they don't really need it.

The midfield is already full with new additions Castro and Nyassi, relegating last years starters Thompson and Smith to the bench.

The forwards are also looking solid with Kheli Dube and Adam Cristman backing up Twellman and Kenny Mansally.

Thoughts on a convincing home win

Just watched the game again on DVR.... and I have to say despite Wells Thompson's improved defense, Sainey Nyassi better get the start on Saturday. It was hard to see him on the flanks from where I was sitting in the stands, but watching him on TV I am reminded of how good he is. He is so explosive, and his energy seems to feed Mansally as well. With Twellman possibly coming back, we'll have to see who partners with him up front.

My thoughts on starting line up...I'd like to see a four man back line against Columbus. They will be able to exploit our midfield a lot easier than Chivas or San Jose did, mainly because they are better. But the smart money is on Nicol playing a 3-5-2.

-----------------Big Red ---------- Shalrie
Nyassi ------------------ Ralston ------------ Castro
-----------Twellman (Dube)--- Mansally

My four man configuration would be pull Larentowicz for Igwe, put him in left back and partner Heaps with Parkhurst in the center.

Also - my man of the match would be a tie between Shalrie and Ralston. Both were everywhere they needed to be and played both sides of the ball very well.

Ryan Johnson for San Jose (formerly of Boston) came on in the second half and also impressed - our defense did a good job limiting his chances, but he is a big strong kid and did well to get open a couple of times.

Crashing back down to Earth ...

or also called REALITY BITES

After long last, our season has finally started, and already I have experienced the thrill of victory and the agony of the FEET.

I am of course talking about the loss to the hated Chicago Fire. After a thrilling victory in our season opener against Houston, in which the Revs did everything right... last night the Revs managed to completely do everything wrong. They completly fell apart as they were dismantled by the Fire 4-0 (with all goals being scored in the first 40 minutes).

What a totally pathetic and pitiful performance by the Revs, and exceptionally poor defending by Parkhurst and Albright, and even more exceptionally poor judgement by Steve Nicol. After the red card to Larentowicz (a bit extreme, don't you think?) Nicol should have immediately gone to a 4-4-1. And while I agree Khano Smith was the man to come off, Chase Hilgenbrinck should have come on for Smith, and move Castro out left and Mansally into the middle with Joseph. Gary Flood was not the right choice to come on. He was AWFUL the first half and never touched the ball. He did improve after Hilgenbrinck came on - but at the expense of Kenny Mansally, thereby limiting our offense.

After Hilgenbrinck came on, the Revs settled down and made some good runs down the wing courtesy of Nyassi. But Chicago is one of those teams that had effectively exploited the 3-5-2 last year... and after the first goal it should have been apparent that they were going to do it again... The onslaught could have been avoided early if Nicol had moved Larentowicz back to partner with Parkhurst after the first goal as a fourth defender, and he probably would not have been ejected because he would have been playing a bit further back.

lord I have a headache.

And why weren't they wearing their lucky white shirts?

Revolution Draft Wrap Up

So with the 5 picks in the MLS super draft, the Revolution selected 2 defenders, and three midfielders (ALL FROM DUKE).  Plus they aquired veteran defender Chris Albright from the LA Galaxy in exchange for allocation money (which just makes the Galaxy stronger in my opinion)....

But the point is Steve Nicol and the Revs are obviously focused on strengthening the defense and the midfield.  It became clear last season that the Revs lacked an effective attacking central midfielder.  Despite the somewhat limited success of moving Ralston in the middle, it was merely a stop gap measure until the end of the season until Nicol and crew could find a replacement for the exiting Andy Dorman.  Also with burgeoning interest in Parkhurst and Avery John, and the Revolution's tendency to give up late goals, the defense needed some bolstering as well.  

The Revs added two 6 footers to their relatively small defensive core yesterday, Rob Valentino - a stand out from San Francisco, and Matthew Britner, a canadian born defender from Brown.

The three midfielders from Duke (Videira , Germanse, and Spenser Wadsworth) will certainly not all make the squad, but will provide some depth at attacking midfielder and also challenge the current squad to work hard for their positions.

Overall the draft was lacking in strong forwards (only one taken in the first round), but very deep in defense and  midfield.  I was not surprised that the Revs did not take another keeper, but with the recent injury problems to Twellman and only Cristman in reserve at the moment, I was surprised they didn't make a move for a forward.  Perhaps they are hoping that prep star Jose Angulo will be ready for the big time.

The Scoop

On Rob Valentino, from the pages of UC San Francisco...

University of San Francisco Athletic
USF's Rob Valentino Named to 2008 Class of Generation adidas

Jan. 11, 2008

(New York) - USF standout Rob Valentino was selected to the 2008 class of Generation adidas as announced today by Major League Soccer and adidas. This elite group of nine players will all enter the professional ranks for the 2008 Major MLS season. These players signed MLS contracts before completing their NCAA eligibility and can be selected in the upcoming 2008 MLS SuperDraft.

Valentino, the 2006 West Coast Conference Player of the Year was named to the Hermann Trophy Award Watch list entering the 2007 campaign, before suffering a season-ending injury. Valentino spearheaded the Dons run to back-to-back WCC Championships (2004-05) and catapulted USF Soccer to three consecutive NCAA Tournament berths.

A three-time All-WCC First Team selection and an Honorable Mention All-American, Valentino competed on the U-23 USA National Team in its 2007 trip to Japan and was the only collegiate player to start.

And the Revolution pick...

Rob Valentino??????

A defender from San Francisco who there does not appear to be much information about. Research has commenced.

With the second pick the Revs pick up Duke midfielder and Massachusetts native Michael Videira - this is someone who may actually see some playing time early in the season especially with the absence of a true attacking midfielder. Also played for Noble & Greenough high school (in Dedham!) and the FC Greater Boston Bolts.

With the third pick the Revs stay with the ACC Pipeline and pick Duke midfielder Joe Germanse, a St. Louis native.

Revolution pick up Chris Albright

In exchange for allocation money... this now gives them some much needed depth on the back line and gives the Revolution some breathing room in the draft. Could also be used as trade to a team that needs more experience in the back line.

Draft Update - part II

Columbus - Andy Iro (D) - from Liverpool England
Chicago - Patrick Nyarko (F)
Dallas - Josh Lambo (GK)
Toronto - Julius James (D)
Toronto - Pat Phelan (M/D)
Kansas City - Roger Espinosa???
Chicago - Dominic Cervi (GK)

Iro is a real bean pole.... 6'5" and only 205 lbs. Named Big West Defensive player of the year three years in a row.

Chicago picked up Nyarko - a player that many thought would go #1. The kid can score, and will probably help Chicago who are down a forward with Wanchope retiring.

Dallas takes Keeper Josh Lambo - not surprising as they were a bit old in this position with Dario Sala.

Toronto picks up UCONN stand out Julius James with their first pick - a solid choice, and unfortunately for Nicol and the Revs, they pick Pat Phelan with their second pick - another good choice.

Chicago picked up another keeper in Cervi - which gives them some very good depth at the position.

Update from the draft

So far its been all defenders and midfielders taken in the first four picks.

Kansas City surprised a lot of people by taking defender Chance Myers with the first pick after trading away a defender to San Jose to get to the top.

Dallas - Brek Shea (M/D)
Salt Lake - Anthony Beltran (M/D)
LA - Sean Franklin (M/D)

Pat Phelan is still on the board.

MLS Super Draft Today

The 2008 MLS Super Draft is today, Friday Jan 18, 2008, and I will be commenting on the Revs' picks as they come through.

The Revs have three picks, and are looking to strengthen the back line as well as find an attacking midfielder that can fill in the hole left by Dempsey and Dorman. Personally I think they need a scorer who can play up front with Twellman effectively, and maybe that person is Adam Cristman, but it definitely isn't Pat Noonan, whose contract option was NOT picked up by the Revs. However they did reserve the rights for 17 year old forward

Steve Nicol is a big fan of ACC teams.... so Pat Phelan (Wake Forest) is probably high on his list. Also on his radar is Stephen King (Maryland - no relation to the Maine version) - but probably as a late second round pick.

It all comes down at 2PM today.

MLS is holding Revs players back

Link to article

As they did with Revs players Clint Dempsey and Shalrie Joseph, as well as other MLS players such as Eddie Johnson, the league has basically handcuffed Revolution forward Taylor Twellman state side after rejecting an upgraded offer worth over 2 Million dollars.

Twellman is quoted as saying
"Something's got to give," Twellman said. "They made me sign a contract for the minimum salary [in '02] and I've jumped through every hoop with a smile on my face. They said I hadn't scored for the national team, and now I've scored six goals, then they said I never received an international offer of any magnitude, and now I have that offer. Now, they can either re-sign me and make a long-term commitment to me, or they can make money off my sale and I'll be gone. They can't withhold me from making three times as much money as I make here.

Galarcep includes the Revs' point of view (Link to Article)

"It needs to be made clear that [Twellman] signed a long-term extension with MLS last year and we fully expect that contract to be honored," said Mike Burns, New England's director of soccer. "I think by not accepting the offer, it says a lot about the Revolution and the league that this deal has been turned down.

"We want to show our fans and our team that we want to put the best product on the field -- without Taylor, that lessens our chances of being successful, and that was, in part, why the offer wasn't accepted.

"This situation didn't make sense for the Revolution. If it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, perhaps it would be viewed differently."

This is where the sides disagree. For Revs management, the offer isn't enough to make the team consider giving up its most dangerous attacking player and one of the league's best forwards.

He goes on to say:
"My point is, if they're just going to turn it down in the blink of an eye, and they didn't even think about it, that tells me they're pretty much not selling me under any circumstances," Twellman said. "So if I'm not for sale under any circumstances and I'm going to spend the rest of my career with the Revolution, then something's gotta give.

"If I'm that valuable and mean that much to the team, then how do they justify me not being their designated player? It isn't even about that, though. It's about a chance that I may not get again. You only do your career once, and this is an offer I'm not sure they'll ever see again."

Ultimately, Twellman doesn't have much recourse, since he signed that contract a year ago for the security it offered and the increased salary he was hoping for. Just because circumstances have since changed, the fact remains that Twellman already committed.

I have to agree with TT on this one.... MLS is holding back players from gaining international experience as well as allowing them to secure their future. Twellman is turning 28 next month and won't have many opportunities left to make this kind of money.

I say let him go. He can come back here when he is done playing over there.

Dorman cashes in on chance as Revolution can't afford him? More like Dorman cashes in as the Revolution didn't want him

Dorman cashes in on chance as Revolution can't afford him - The Boston Globe

I came across this article by Frank Dell'Appa on and had to chuckle.

Of course the Revolution could have afforded Andy Dorman. They have a Designated Player roster spot which allows them to sign anyone to an exorbitant amount of money to play for the team, and it doesn't count to the salary cap. The facts are the Revolution didn't want to sign him for that money because they feel he is not worth $400,000.00 per year. You know what? They're right.

Dorman started 27 games this year for the Revs. He showed signs of brilliance in the first half of the year, especially when Twellman was off with the US Team. He came up big in some games, scoring 7 goals over the first 15 games, and two of them coming against Toronto FC. However his production deteriorated severely over the second half of the season.

Since his game winning goal against New York in mid July, Dorman only recorded 11 Shots over the next 12 games, 6 of them on goal. What's even more staggering is that over the course of the season, Dorman only recorded one assist. This from the player who was supposed to be the play maker for the team - a catalyst, a replacement for Clint Dempsey. He did manage to record a shot in the US Open Cup final, but was subbed in favor of Wells Thomson, who produced the game winning goal.

Dorman would never start another game for the Revs. He saw limited time over the last three regular season games and was an unused sub during the playoffs. He came on for the last 12 minutes of the final, and recorded two shots that were well saved, but it was too little too late. Dorman's days were done as a player for New England.

The fact that Kraft Soccer didn't want to match St. Mirren's offer does not surprise me, especially when they are not even coming close to paying that kind of money for Taylor Twellman, their leading goal scorer or Shalrie Joseph, arguably the best defensive midfielder in the game. They also have outstanding rookies like Thomson and Adam Cristman they would like to keep, as well as star players like Michael Parkhurst, who is being heavily pursued by english team Fulham FC. Throw in up and coming Jeff Larentowicz and MLS Iron Man Steve Ralston and you can understand why they don't want to give big money to a player they obviously didn't value very highly. That money is better spent elsewhere - like finding some help on the defense and getting another goal scorer.