Tag Archive | "roster"

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TMR Episode 39 – The Midnight Ride vs The False Dawn

Posted on 28 July 2011 by Hank Alexandre

Hank is joined by Bob Madaio from Soccer Soap Box to discuss the New England Revolution and their triumphant (?) road trip where they picked up 4 out of 6 points. But the question remains, does this team have the horses to make a run to the playoffs?

Click here to listen

Soccer Soap Box – http://www.soccersoapbox.com
http://twitter.com/soccersoapbox

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Domi released from contract

Posted on 15 July 2011 by Hank Alexandre

The New England Revolution announced today via press release that left back Didier Domi has been released from his contract with Major League Soccer.

The 33 year old French International was signed by the Revolution on January 11, 2011, but only appeared in nine games, with eight starts, for New England.

No reason for his release was provided.

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Revs lose out on Marko; clear cap room

Posted on 01 July 2011 by Hank Alexandre

The New England Revolution parted ways with its 2010 MVP and leading goal scorer Marko Perovic on Thursday June 30th, along with his countryman Ilija Stolica.

The move occurred on the last day before guaranteed contracts kicked in for MLS, as players on the roster as of July 1st are guaranteed salaries throughout the rest of the season.

However, both Perovic and Stolica had contracts that were set to expire on June 30, with options for the team to extend them through the rest of the season.  Stolica, who had been loaned out in April, seemed destined to be cut as the deadline approached. But Perovic, who had suffered a season ending knee injury earlier this season, specifically asked for his contract option not to be picked up by the team.

To Marko’s credit, he was done for the season, and could have continued to collect salary while he recovered from his ACL surgery.  Asking for his release allows the Revolution to get cap room and roster relief.  Coupled with Stolica’s salary, the Revs now have a bit more wiggle room to try and sign a true impact player that can help the Revs reach the playoffs in October.

But who that player will be  is anybody’s guess. Looking at the Revs roster moves over the last three seasons, one has to wonder what it is about this MLS franchise and it’s inability to secure decent players. Jeff Larentowicz did not want an extension in 2009, and opted to be traded in 2010 to Colorado, where he signed a lucrative contract and won a championship. Stories of designated players who almost have signed but backed away have plagued this team since the “Beckham” rule went into effect. And now Marko has asked for and been granted his unconditional release.

Perhaps the reason has to do more with the teams infrastructure and technical staff than it does with MLS as a whole.  Steve Nicol is a Liverpool legend, but that only goes so far when your support staff and assistant coaches are made up of former college coaches and youth directors.  Hardly the infrastructure one would find in the top leagues in Europe.

Furthermore, Mike Burns, Vice President of Player Personnel, seems limited in his ability to attract and retain talent. This could be due to the ownership not providing him with the resources he needs, or it could be his own failing.  Regardless, it is his job to make sure the team has the players it needs to compete, and he has fallen short in that regard over recent years.

Stevie Nicol has already made multiple trips to Europe, Africa, and even Turkey.  Rumors are starting to form that a Designated Player could be on the way to New England.  One can only hope that Nicol has a player in mind that can make an immediate impact on the field. Hopefully that player is more akin to Perovic rather than Jankauskas or Niouky.

 

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Revs lose possession, and game, in Seattle

Posted on 30 June 2011 by Hank Alexandre

Sainey Nyassi’s 3 minute strike to give his team an early lead was wasted in Seattle as the struggling New England Revolution fell to the Seattle Sounders on Sunday.  The Sounders dominated the run of play for the majority of the match, scoring twice in the first half to take the lead.

Tyson Wahl notched the equalizer and his first career MLS goal with a stunning free kick that caught the left corner which could be goal of the week.  The Sounders then went ahead on a strike from Alvaro Fernandez, taking advantage of a defensive lapse from Revs defender Kevin Alston, who was busy attending to his defective cleats.

Despite the return of Benny Feilhaber and the addition of Ryan Guy into the line-up, the Revs were disjointed at best.  The Sounders were missing 6 key starters and lost a player early on to injury and New England could not muster any form of sustainable attack.

For a team that focused on maintaining possession in the preseason, the Revolution seem to be regressing and are now struggling in the midfield as well as in the final third.

Overall the Revolution had few shining stars. Pat Phelan’s overall performance in the middle of the field was left wanting, and his slide tackle in the 23rd minute was atrocious.  Rajko Lekic seems to struggle with his first touch, often resulting in a giveaway or a miskick.  Benny Feilhaber was not involved in any meaningful way and Shalrie Joseph was playing too far back to orchestrate any kind of attack.

But the formation is the fault of head coach Steve Nicol.   After seeing some modicum of success with a 4-4-2, Nicol opted to return to his preferred 4-5-1.  His insistence on two holding midfielders at the expense of meaningful attack, and playing Benny Feilhaber out of position as a forward where he was ineffective, has in fact hindered the Revolution more than it has helped.

A glimmer of hope for the team was when Steve Nicol moved to a 3-5-2 in the final minutes, subbing off Ryan Cochrane for Zack Schilawski.  Schilawski had a great impact on the game, unleashing a rocket of a shot in the 85th minute that deflected off the wrongside of the crossbar, and the quality of the Revolution’s overall play improved as they looked for the equalizer. But in the end it was just not enough, and the Revolution were once again on the wrong end of the scoresheet.

If the Revolution hope to make a push to the playoffs, they need to start winning yesterday.  However, that is not going to happen under Steve Nicol’s current system.  Nicol has to find a way to get Benny Feilhaber involved quickly, so he can generate more offense.  Furthermore, he must shelf his lone striker tactics permanently and give Lekic a true striking partner. Kenny Mansally and Zak Boggs have both shown tremendous energy over the last few weeks and have just missed on a number of chances, but a consistent striking partner will help Lekic develop a true rapport with his teammates, allowing him to anticipate and react more efficiently, and less emotionally.

Lastly, Nicol must find a designated player THIS SEASON that can have an immediate impact on the team’s overall performance.  So far Nicol’s big signings (Lekic, Domi, Dabo, and even Feilhaber) have had little impact on the team.  Granted Domi and Dabo have been injured more often than not, but that would have to be expected considering their age.  Rumors have circulated over the last few months that the team has their eye on a designated player, and Nicol himself has flown across the Atlantic to talk to him on numerous occassions.  One can only hope that the player Nicol has in mind, if he should sign with the Revs, has the fitness level where he can not only contribute right away, but contribute on a regular basis.

Steve Nicol has proven throughout his career that given the right players, he can produce results.  However, time is running out on Nicol to find the players that can save the season, and maybe his job.

Seattle Sounders FC 2, New England Revolution 1

Scoring Summary:

NE – Sainey Nyassi (Benny Feilhaber) 3

SEA – Tyson Wahl (unassisted) 34

SEA – Alvaro Fernandez (Roger Levesque, Mauro Rosales) 40

 

New England Revolution: Matt Reis, Darrius Barnes, A.J. Soares, Ryan Cochrane (Zack Schilawski 81), Kevin Alston, Ryan Guy (Kenny Mansally 62), Benny Feilhaber, Shalrie Joseph ©, Pat Phelan, Sainey Nyassi (Zak Boggs 62), Rajko Lekic

 

Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Shuttleworth, Franco Coria, Otto Loewy

 

STATS*: Shots: 11; Shots on Goal: 3; Saves: 1; Corner Kicks: 5; Offside: 1; Fouls Committed: 13

 

Seattle Sounders FC: Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Jeff Parke (Patrick Ianni 17), Tyson Wahl, Lamar Neagle, Servando Carrasco, Erik Friberg, Alvaro Fernandez (Pat Noonan 69), Mauro Rosales (Nate Jaqua 89), Roger Levesque

 

Substitutes Not Used: Terry Boss, Mike Fucito, Michael Tetteh, Zach Scott

 

STATS*: Shots: 9; Shots on Goal: 3; Saves: 2; Corner Kicks: 3; Offside: 3; Fouls Committed: 7

* Note that all statistics are unofficial

 

Misconduct Summary:

NE – Pat Phelan (caution) 23

SEA – Servando Carrasco (caution) 26

NE – Ryan Cochrane (caution) 72

NE – Rajko Lekic (caution) 78

SEA – Tyson Wahl (caution) 87

NE – A.J. Soares (caution) 90

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Revs Waive Augustine, Add Ryan Guy

Posted on 09 June 2011 by Hank Alexandre

In the wake of the Benny Feilhaber and Marko Perovic injuries, the Revolution made a couple of roster moves this week.

First on Wednesday, The Revolution waived Nigerian midfielder Michael Augustine, whom The Revs’ signed during the preseason using one of their international roster spots.  Augustine had only made appearances for the reserve squad as well as playing in the US Open Cup qualifiers, but had not yet played in a MLS league match.  With the transfer window opening up in a few short weeks, the Revs could be clearing a spot to make a move for a designated player.

But in the meantime, the Revs have also picked up 25 year old midfielder Ryan Guy.  Guy, an American citizen who had been playing the last four seasons in Ireland, was signed today and will join the team sometime after the Revs’ match against the New York Red Bulls.  Guy is also a right sided midfielder, and will challenge the likes of Sainey Nyassi and Zak Boggs for the starter position.  This move may allow Steve Nicol to move Zak Boggs into a more forward role.  However, there is no guarantee that Guy will see significant playing time.  Nicol has made midseason moves before, and most of those players are no longer with the team.

 

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What’s Wrong with the Revolution

Posted on 09 June 2011 by Hank Alexandre

It’s almost half way through the season and the New England Revolution are struggling.

With just 13 points in 13 games, Steve Nicol appears to be out of answers to find a way to win.  It’s not hard to find out where the problem lies.  The Revolution have only scored 10 goals all season, and just two in their last four games. Their leading goal scorer is defensive midfielder Shalrie Joseph with four goals (two from the penalty spot). Meanwhile, the Revs’ new striker, Rajko Lekic, who was brought in specifically to score goals, has 14 shots in 8 games, but only 6 have been on goal, and of those just one has found the back of the net.

But it’s very easy to lay blame at the feet of an inefficient striker, especially with the lack of service  he’s been getting.  However, that is hardly the root of the Revolutions problems.  But one only needs to look at the formation on the field to see the true cause.

The Revs have been playing a make shift 4-3-3 formation, but anyone with a pair of eyes can tell you it’s more of a 4-5-1.  The Revolution wings have been playing so far back that by the time they get the ball into an attacking position, the opposition has had enough time to track back and cover.  On the rare occasion the Revs beat the opposition, Lekic, the lone man up top, has been either offside, or hasn’t had the quality of service for him to connect.

More to the point, the Revolution have become predictable.  The 5 man midfield has been a staple of Steve Nicol’s since the Revolution’s heyday in the mid 2000’s.  But that Revolution squad had the likes of Steve Ralston, Clint Dempsey, Andy Dorman, as well as Shalrie Joseph. Today, the Revolution’s midfield features only one holdover from that squad, and the rest of the midfield just doesn’t measure up.

Furthermore, and most importantly, Steve Nicol had the talent in Michael Parkhurst to play a three man backfield, which allowed him to play two forwards up top.  And with two forwards like Taylor Twellman and Pat Noonan, the Revolution were a goal scoring machine.

Again, it’s easy to look back and remember the glory days, and say the Revolution should switch to a 3-5-2 formation. That may or may not be the answer.  But what is overwhelmingly clear is the lack of scoring prowess on the field. And while the Revs may not have Twellman and Noonan, they do have Dube, Schilawski, Koger – all of whom have the ability to get forward and get the ball in the net.

What it comes down to is Steve Nicol’s system of 4-5-1 is not working, and the Revs need to do something different.  If they can’t change the players they’ve got, the best option is to shake it up.

 

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Benny’s Rev’d up and Ready

Posted on 23 April 2011 by Hank Alexandre

It has been a busy couple of days for Benny Feilhaber.

Despite traveling nearly 20 hours from Denmark to Boston, New England Revolution’s brand new midfielder wasted no time in taking the practice field, as well as fielding questions from the media.

“First Day…just trying to get into it,” said Feilhaber, from the practice ground at Gillette Stadium.  “Still a little bit tough, a little bit jet lagged, my legs are a little tired, but it felt good to get back to training and everything, and getting to know my teammates.”

When asked how MLS compares to leagues in Europe, Feilhaber  stated, “MLS is fast paced, a lot of breaks, counters, stuff like that, so I think I’ve got to get used to it.  I’ve played in Germany and in Denmark, which are similar [to MLS]; and in England which is I think more similar to here, even more fast paced than MLS, but [out of the three places I’ve played] it’s more similar to England… I don’t think I’ll have too big a problem getting adjusted.”

Revolution Coach Steve Nicol is confident that Feilhaber will be able to contribute right away.

“Obviously he’s had a long flight, so we’ll see how he feels tomorrow morning.” said Nicol. “I’m sure he’ll be on the field at some stage, if not from the start.”

As far as where Benny will fit into the formation, Nicol is taking a wait and see approach. “The more quality you have in the squad the better, it takes everything up a notch. He’s only just trained training this morning, so we’ll try not and pigeon hole him, he’s obviously a good talent, and can do different things. But give us a bit of a time, and we’ll see what suits him and us.”

Feilhaber is also ready to fill in anywhere.  “I felt good in the scrimmage we had [today], finding little spots and  finding my teammates on the field, so I’m sure I’ll fit in fine. I can play [on the outside], typically I played either in the middle or on the left at Aarhus, so I can see myself fitting in there, if he needs me to.”

But Feilhaber is primarily focused on helping his team win.  “In MLS the most important thing is making the Playoffs,” said Feilhaber. “Anyone can really win after that.”

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Revs Roster Moves; Loewy in, Sinovic out

Posted on 31 March 2011 by Hank Alexandre

In the wake of recent transfer news regarding striker Rajko Lekic as a potential transfer target, the New England Revolution made a number of roster moves today, and none concerned the Danish international.

This morning, the Revs issued a press release announcing the signing of central defender Otto Loewy to the team.  Loewy is a native of Liberia, but is a permanent resident of the United States and thus will not occupy an international roster spot on the team’s roster.

Loewy played for four years at Winthrop University in South Carolina where he earned all-region honors.  In the 2009 NCAA Tournament, Loewy suffered a devastating leg injury  against William & Mary which kept him out of the sport for more than a year, forcing him to miss the 2010 MLS Combine, to which he was invited. Loewy was invited to train with the Revolution during their preseason camp in Atlanta early this spring.

The Revolution then announced later this afternoon that the team had waived 2nd year defender, Seth Sinovic.  Sinovic was drafted by New England with the 25th pick in the 2010 SuperDraft, and was part of the 2010 rookie class that Steve Nicol branded as “the best we’ve ever seen”,  along with Zack Schilawki and Zak Boggs.  With the 2010 Revolution’s depleted back line, Sinovic started last year’s season at left back, where in his first three games he matched up well against LA’s Landon Donovan, MLS 2010 rookie of the year Andy Najar of DC United, and Dwayne DeRosario of Toronto FC. He went on to make 20 appearances for the club with 18 starts over all during the 2010 campaign, but had not seen any playing time this season with the Revs senior team.

The moves keep the current squad at 27 players, leaving three spots available on the roster.  However league rules dictate that a team can leave two roster spots open in exchange for $70,000 in allocation money (35,000 per spot) .  With the likelihood that the Revolution will be signing at least one more player, they will be sure to keep those spots open and use the allocation money to pay down the new player’s salary.

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New England continue to add depth

Posted on 04 March 2011 by Hank Alexandre

The New England Revolution have signed 18 year old Nigerian midfielder Michael Augustine, according to a team press release.

Augustine, along with additional international signings Ousmane Dabo and Franco Coria, joins the team for the final leg of preseason training in the Atlanta, Georgia area as the Revolution prepare to face MLS opponents for just the second time this spring.   Augustine will occupy the teams eighth international roster spot, once all his paper work is finished.

This signing is the team’s fifth international signing this year, representing a very busy offseason for the Revs.  Earlier this winter, the Revolution announced the signings of Didier Domi, Ousmane Dabo, and Franco Coria. The fifth international signed was homegrown academy player Diego Fagundez, who lives in Leominster, Massachusetts, but is a citizen of Uruguay. The other three internationals are 4 year veteran Sainey Nyassi, and Marko Perovic and Ilija Stolica, both of whom signed with the team last year.

The signing of Augustine also marks the fifth straight year the Revolution have signed a player from Africa.  In 2007 the Revs signed Kenny Mansally and Sainey Nyassi, followed by Kheli Dube in 2008, Stephane Assenge and Emmanuel Osei in 2009, and Joseph Niouky in 2010.  Only Mansally, Nyassi, and Dube are currently on the team.

Augustine, a member of the team that won Nigeria’s FA Youth Cup,  scored 18 goals for FCT Abuja since joining the first team in 2008, and helped the squad gain promotion to the Nigerian Premier League in 2009.

“Michael is a young midfielder who we believe can have a promising future in our league,” Revolution Vice President of Player Personnel Michael Burns said. “He has pace and will add to the depth we have in the midfield this season.”

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Revs ramping up for regular season

Posted on 04 March 2011 by Matty Jollie

After a training trip to Orlando that saw the New England Revolution post a 3-0-0 record as well as a completely clean opponent’s scoresheet, the focus now shifts to a journey into the beautiful state of Georgia where the team’s objectives will change, and the competition will certainly be tougher.

While the Floridian expedition was clearly more of an exploratory exercise into the team’s depth and youth, this next trip will be highlighted by more of the familiar faces, playing in their familiar roles.  As MLS First Kick is merely weeks away (read that line again and try to contain your excitement), this trip will play a huge part in defining the Revs’ identity as a unit, and will have a big say in how the club performs in the early stages of the MLS season.

What to Expect From the Revs

Without question, the first thing that will jump out at you will be the difference in the squad itself. Without getting into all of the off the field issues of the previous trip, suffice it to say the team will once again have captain Shalrie Joseph, as well as defender Kevin Alston at their disposal after their absence in Orlando. In addition to regaining Joseph and Alston, the team will also get a look at new signings Ousmane Dabo and Franco Coria against MLS opposition.

With the addition of those four players alone, you can assume the quality of play could only improve, and it will also open the team up to experimenting with different formations and combinations all over the field (Nicol had previously hinted at attempting to play a 3-5-2). Given the options that Nicol will now have at several positions, this trip will go along way in answering several question marks about the potential starting XI on opening night, not the least of which is “where will the goals be coming from?”.

While the Serbian duo of Ilica Stolica and Marko Perovic will most likely play a starring role, it is the supporting cast that still seems slightly hazy as the team heads to Georgia. Finding a strike partner for Stolica remains a priority, as well as stabilizing a central midfield that at times last season had tremendous difficulty not only winning possession, but maintaining it.

In addition to the battle for playing time at striker, another intriguing storyline is who will partner in the center of the Revs defense. With Darrius Barnes seemingly winning one of the spots, it will be up to the likes of Ryan Cochrane, Franco Coria, and first-round pick A.J. Soares to decide who will be the that second center back alongside Barnes.

With plenty of questions that need answers, the Revs are more than eager to test themselves against MLS opposition as it gives them a true litmus test as to where they stand at this point in the preseason. As March 20th approaches it’s important for the team to not only find an identity, but to establish a solid squad rotation that will keep the players fresh and healthy as the season progresses. Look for a more veteran-laden lineup from Steve Nicol as the trip winds down, and certainly pay special attention to the final match of the trip on Sunday, March 13th against the Houston Dynamo, as that is the final match of the Revs’ preseason and coach Steve Nicol’s final chance to tweak his lineup in live situations ahead of the opener against Los Angeles.

What to Expect From the Revs’ Opponents

The Revolution will play three matches on this trip, two against the Columbus Crew, and one against rivals Houston Dynamo. The first match is against the Columbus Crew this Sunday, and comes on the heels of the Crew’s exit from the CONCACAF Champions League at the hands of Real Salt Lake earlier in the week. This is a Columbus side that have had an interesting preseason, trying to inject 15 newcomers into the club system while maintaining a high level of play in an important competition. Expect the Crew to rest most of the players that played a major part in the Champions’ League Quarterfinal, which will give rising stars like Rich Balchan and Cole Grossman yet another opportunity to impress.

Look for the Crew to field a slightly more aggressive, first XI-minded lineup when the two teams hook up again three days later as part of the “Atlanta Pro Soccer Challenge Cup”. While the Crew are still uncertain about the health of regular starters Chad Marshall, Shaun Francis, Danny O’Rourke and keeper Wiliam Hesmer, expect head coach Robert Warzycha to assemble a side with several veterans, such as Eddie Gaven, Andy Iro, Robbie Rogers and Jeff Cunningham.

The final, and in this writer’s opinion, pivotal match of the trip will kickoff next Sunday, with the Revs taking on Houston in the final match of the Atlanta tournament. Previous history and rivalries aside, this match is hugely important as it will serve as both team’s final live competition before they each open their respective MLS slates.

Houston have already had a taste of MLS competition in their preseason endeavors, taking part in Disney’s Pro Soccer Classic (the Dynamo lost in the final to FC Dallas on penalty kicks) which may lead to the Orange-clad outfit to being slightly further along in developing their own chemistry and squad.The club has performed quite well, amassing a 5-0-3 record in their preseason, and may have found a star in young Houston native Francisco Navas Cobo, who scored the game-tying goal in the Disney final, and has turned heads throughout the early stages of this season. Midfielder Geoff Cameron has enjoyed a resurgence thus far, and has reinvigorated a Dynamo side looking to retain past glory, while newcomers Kofi Sarkodie and Will Bruin have acclimated themselves well to MLS, and have shown at times they are more than capable of contributing.

Look for this final dress rehearsal to be spirited, yet cautious as both sides will want to remain healthy with the curtains opening on MLS 2011 less than a week later.

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