The Corner Stoehr: The Rumored and the Real

Posted on 30 July 2010 by sstoehrst

When news broke today of the Revs’ acquiring Betu and Ilija Stolica, I had mixed feelings. The move is obviously a step in the right direction; the Revs really, really need to find goals from somewhere and both Betu and Stolica are attacking players with goals in them, certainly. We can’t sit back and hope that Perovic does something astounding or Schilawski puts one in at home and realistically expect to be anywhere near the hunt for the playoffs.

Stolica, particularly, has a history of bagging goals in his much-traveled career. Top sources (Wikipedia) tell me that Ilija scored 7 goals in 11 appearances in half a season with Buducnost this season, which is no small feat in anybody’s league. He was very good back in Serbia and also fairly productive in both Belgium and Ukraine. At 31 he’s probably entering the decline of his career but his size (6’1”) and experience should be a huge benefit to the Revs’ strike force for the next few months.

Despite a decent enough CV, Stolica pales in comparison to the moves made recently by the Revs closest rivals in the East. Chicago signed Mexican international Nery Castillo, and just today it was announced that they traded draft picks to Seattle for Freddie Ljungberg. New York added Thierry Henry, and is expected to announce Rafa Marquez any day now. DC added Montenegro captain Branko Boskovic and Toronto snapped up Spanish striker Mista. All of these were DP signings and should vastly improve their respective teams’ offenses.

The Revs are already almost bottom of the table in the East. Stolica and Betu may represent improvement, but in the face of the overwhelming talent now saturating the rosters of most of their nearest competitors, New England can’t really expect to catch anyone they’re trailing.

Amidst this suddenly very interesting “silly season,” more rumors of possible DP signings have been flying around. Dave Checketts hinted that Ronaldinho would be landing in LA, although it seems that isn’t going to happen anytime soon. Stern John was apparently all but signed by Columbus until his recent injury, and several names (Geovanni, Luis Garcia, Zvonimir Vukic, Nuno Gomes) have been revealed as having had talks with MLS about crossing the pond.

Not all of these last four players were linked with particular clubs, but surprisingly, Nuno Gomes is rumored to have spoken with the Revolution.

Mandatory Credit: Stu Forster /Allsport

Taking a moment to analyze the situation, Nuno Gomes actually fits the bill for Mike Burns’ party line on Designated Player signings. He would absolutely help the product on the field – he’s scored 160 goals in two stints with Benfica and 29 goals in 77 appearances for Portugal – and would likely make a huge splash in the prominent Portuguese population in the Boston area.

There are definitely questions surrounding this move. Do the Revs have the cap space? They seem to complain of a lack of available salary an awful lot but nobody on that squad besides Reis, Joseph, and Twellman makes that much. The bigger issue is roster space, as someone would have to be cut for the Revolution to make room for him.

There are certainly several players that would be no huge loss if they were gone. Should Jankauskas recover from his injury anytime soon, releasing him would be the best move the Revs have made all year. It’s safe to say the Joseph Niouky experiment is probably a failure; he could go. Pat Phelan’s versatility and determination are valuable but in the end, no fans would be particularly upset if he was shown the door. Players like Mansally and Colaluca have underperformed or not performed at all, and for a player of Gomes’ caliber could be worth losing.

This situation is really a litmus test for the honesty of the New England brass. If they truly are committed to only bringing in a DP that improves the product on and off the pitch, then they should be very seriously looking into Nuno Gomes. At 34 he’s probably only worth a contract through next season at DP dollars, but his undeniable talent would probably mean at least three or four extra wins this season and who-knows-how-many next year.

Regardless, major changes are afoot in Major League Soccer and it’s time the Revolution stepped up to the plate and made a move. This season certainly depends on it, and the next few might, too.

Please feel free to leave any and all questions or comments below!

1 Comments For This Post

  1. jimmystagger Says:

    This makes a lot of sense, which means it probably won't happen.

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