The New England Revolution fan base has had a common refrain for the last few weeks, and it went something like this… “Please, please let us see some of these pre-season games. We can’t wait to see all these changes and drive the memory of 2010 from our minds.” This refrain may also have included a complaining “waaah, waaah, waaah”, or something like it, depending on who you were listening to.
Revolution fans’ wishes were answered with the airing of today’s last season pre-season game against the Houston Dynamo. It was example of that age old phrase, “be careful what you wish for.” The complaining “waaah, waaah, waaah” was replaced by more of a somber whimpering.
The Revs lost their second straight game, both by a 3 to 1 score line. Seeing this game then, turned out to be a wish that perhaps the fan base did not need granted. The scoreline aside, there were few (if any) moments that the team looked like it was ready for its imminent 2011 season.
Which leads us to think what other wishes Revolution fans might have had for the on-field product at the end of a playoff-less 2010, and where those wishes stand. With some massive salary-cap room cleared (Twellman, Jankauskas), this should be good… right?
Veteran Leadership: Well, if you haven’t been concerned by this topic. You’ve not been paying attention. See here.
A solidified backline: The Revolution defense was fairly porous in 2010, leaving it with a league high Goals Against Average. First, there was addition by subtraction (by the waving of Osei), then a ray of hope with the drafting of Ryan Cochrane, Didier Domi and AJ Soares, as well as the signing of Franco Coria from Argentina. That ray is somewhat dimmed by would-be starter Kevin Alston reinjuring his hamstring, Domi’s knee irritations and most acutely, the fact that pre-season ended with 6 goals against in two games.
A trustworthy scorer: There’s no reason to waste words here, there’s been no change worth mentioning. A real let-down, and likely not despite efforts by the team to add some firepower, but whatever those efforts were, they came up short.
Possession oriented soccer: If there has been a single refrain from the coaching staff this pre-season it has been about needing to build a team that can keep possession of the ball. However, based on the coaching staff’s commentary throughout pre-season and the video evidence on display during today’s loss to Houston, the team has not made significant steps here. One hope is that if Ousmane Dabo can live up to his impressive resume and add some calmness to a frantic midfield.
Creativity: Maybe this has not been in the wishes of many Revolution fans, partially because the option of having such a thing was largely given up on. But not by everyone. I’m still holding out for more. For someone to bring the unexpected. To orchestrate play. Asking this of a Joseph / Dabo midfield seems a bit too much to expect.
No matter how you cut it, the Revolution remains a work in process. The team hasn’t shown anything to suggest it has found a scoring punch, a creative flair and or a dependable backline. That said, there’s a ton of new blood in that locker room, and maybe there are some surprises in store… let’s add that to the wish list.
But just in case, when does the international transfer window open up, and how much salary cap space does the team have?