If this pre-season is the time when Chef Nicol creates the Revolution main dish that will be served for the MLS 2011 season, then it’s clear that the meal is still half-baked.
Here on Soccer Soap Box I have occasionally counted on the contrasting perspectives of situations being “Half Full” or “Half Empty” in game reviews, and will apply a modified, point by point, version for reviewing where the team is so far this pre-season.
Half Full: The Revolution has secured two victories in two pre-season games, both 2-0 victories.
Half Empty: The Revolution did not score a goal from the run of play against a team of second string 16 year olds (no players in that US Under-17 Team scrimmage started today’s important match against El Salvador) and only put two in against a college team, one of which was a deflected (aka, lucky) shot.
Half Full: Significant press coverage given to Shalrie Joseph’s increased focus, acceptance of leadership responsibilities and even direction to pursue coaching someday. In fact, when talking about the amount of inexperience surrounding him Shalrie offered, “we just have to be leaders for these guys and try steer them in the right direction.” Great.
Half Empty: Team experience, skill and salary leader Shalrie Joseph was sent home for unspecified disciplinary reasons.
Half Full: The Revolution quality and experience in midfield in Ousmane Dabo.
Half Empty: While not the team’s fault one supposes, coaches and fans are still waiting for Dabo to join the team as the requisite paperwork goes through. A tease of potential quality that hopefully fans will get a taste of soon.
Half Full: The Revolution added quality and experience in wide-defensive cover with Didier Domi.
Half Empty: Kevin Alston, who would book-end wide defensive responsibilities the other side of the field, hurts himself within a the first half of the first pre-season game and gets sent home with Shalrie Joseph under odd circumstances.
Half Full: Revolution bring in some Latin blood with the addition of a young Argentine.
Half Empty: Fans hopes for Latin creativity are largely unrequited as the new addition, Franco Coria, adds additional cover for the central defense in the form of another (Barnes, Soares, etc.) big, young defender. While Mr. Coria might be a great player, and I’m all for shoring up what was a weak defense in 2010, the Revolution’s claims that in Argentina’s Chacarita Juniors “he was primarily a reserve player for the club during the last four seasons” are not enthusiam inducing.
Half Full: Significant press coverage of a newfound optimism and energy for the new season, which is exactly what fans are looking to hear.
Half Empty: Chris Tierney, a player who at least has provided some moments of optimism with a nice free kick and some assists, said what fans are worried about… “I don’t think the level we’re playing at right now is going to be sufficient…”
I’ll leave it to you to decide if this trend is “Half Full” or “Half Empty” at this point, but there’s clearly work to do. I’ll also leave the half-baked proclamation alone, because given our disciplinary concerns and 2010 history of marijuana related suspensions, hoping the team gets fully baked might not be the best idea after all.