Benny's fate has been decided today with news that he will be heading to Eastern Conference rivals Sporting Kansas City for allocation money and future draft picks. And the Revolution community turn the page.
Per a team press release, the New England Revolution have traded midfielder Benny Feilhaber to Sporting Kansas City for allocation money, a 1st round SuperDraft pick in 2014, and a 2nd round SuperDraft pick in 2015.
Feilhaber, 27, made 52 appearances since joining the Revolution in April 2011 through Major League Soccer's Allocation process. He made 46 starts, scoring five goals and adding nine assists, including four goals and seven assists in his 23-game 2011 campaign. Prior to joining the Revolution, Feilhaber played six seasons in Europe, including stints with Hamburg (Germany's Bundesliga), Derby County (England's Premier League) and AGF Aarhus (Denmark's SuperLiga).
"We've been working on several options with Benny for a few months and we feel this trade with Kansas City is the most beneficial outcome for the Revs," Revolution General Manager Michael Burns said. "This move allows us greater roster flexibility in both 2013 and beyond."
This news comes just a week after the Revolution declined Benny's 2013 contract option, which came as little surprise to the Revolution community. The ups and downs of Feilhaber's 2012 season (most downs) have been well-documented here on The Bent Musket, but his next steps were largely a mystery up until this morning when rumors started circulating around the twitter-sphere that Benny might be heading to the Midwest.
For Kansas City, they are getting a talented midfielder who might just be able to fill the hole being left by Honduran international Roger Espinoza who has recently transferred to Premier League side Wigan Athletic. However, they are likely inheriting a sizeable hit against the salary cap as well. For the Revs, they are getting rid of Benny for future draft picks and allocation money instead of letting him head back to Europe for nothing. Still, though, one may wonder if the Revolution could have orchestrated a more fruitful trade with Kansas City or even a different team for perhaps a player as well.
While many might point fingers to the Revolution for not surrounding Benny with the appropriate level of talent or not playing him in the proper system, there's little doubt in New England that his days were numbered after the 2012 season that he produced and that he was no longer a part of Jay Heaps' plans moving forward. He will surely be a threat to play against next season (three times), but hopefully the Revs can show that they are just as good if not better without him. In light of this move, there will be plenty of doubters to prove wrong.