FOXBORO, MA - JULY 17: Fans of the New England Revolution show their support before a game against Philadelphia Union at Gillette Stadium on July 17, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Perhaps it is the remnants of the last two seasons that has Revolution supporters feeling incredibly negative about the franchise's off-season moves. With news of players reneging on deals, choosing to sign in different countries, being defined as unnecessary to the organization, or threatening retirement, it is easy to let surprisingly positive moves get whitewashed in negativity. However, the New England Revolution have had a better off-season than people are giving them credit for.
So while the stories of Rajko Lekic, Monsef Zerka, and Milton Caraglio - who apparently have become the symbols of front office failures to many supporters - led the Revs off-season news-line, the more recent "failures" have Revolution supporters more on edge than usual. Sure it is easy to point out the so-called atrocities of the front office and say that they are failing at their jobs (I know I've done it), but that is only looking at half the story.
Yes, many of us were upset at seeing Danleigh Borman turn down a deal and sign in South Africa. And sure, every Revs supporter was up in arms over the Jose Moreno story. And then, of course, the news that Nate Jaqua may be thinking that retirement is a better deal than suiting up for New England hit. It seemed to be exactly how the off-season was going. Just epic failure after epic failure. But while New England has yet to sign that big-named DP, their silly season has had some seriously overlooked good news.
While I for one was hoping the FO would pick up Chandler Hoffman in the SuperDraft with the third pick, the Revs did make a wise selection in choosing Hoffman's UCLA teammate Kelyn Rowe. In addition to Rowe, the Revolution lucked out by having Tyler Polak basically fall into their laps with the 22nd pick. That is two Generation Adidas players, who have both earned caps for the USMNT U20 squad. One is a solid creator, and the other is that rare MLS left-footed left back. Both could contribute in their first year, but more importantly, neither will count against the cap, leaving room for other moves.
Looking towards the crap-shoot that is the Re-Entry Draft, we saw the FO pick up three players. And while Borman chose to sign with SuportSport United FC of the South African Premier Soccer League, and Nate Jaqua may be looking to retire, the Revolution did come away with Clyde Simms. When analyzing these picks, we can see that Borman was still raw and Jaqua seemed to be past his prime, but Simms - who last year was still earning starting minutes for D.C. United - could provide either excellent cover for Shalrie Joseph or possibly a second DM in a double-pivot midfield. That is not a horrendous pick-up for a draft whose role in MLS player acquisition is still being defined.
And while Moreno may be the Colombian that is seen as the defining point of the Revolutions off-season, John Lozano and Fernando Cárdenas, both formerly of América de Cali, are being highly overlooked. These two quality players could have immediate dividends for the Revs. Last season we saw glimpses of what A.J. Soares could be, and John Lozano may just be that high quality CB to further his development that supporters are looking for. Leonel Alvarez has referred to Cárdenas as "a magician with the ball," and if you check out his youtube clips (which granted I could probably throw together some clips of me playing and make myself look pretty damn good), he has tinges of a young David Ferreira (who was also spent a good portion of his young career with América de Cali). This could potentially add yet another creator to the line-up.
But where will the goals come from? The thought I've often had is if you have people who can create chances then any moron will be able to knock in goals. The FO has, thus far, taken two chances. The first was Moreno. And while this looks to become messier and messier every day, the fact is the FO took a chance. The chance may fail, but maybe it will work out. The second chance they took is on Saer Sene. While Sène's connection to Bayern Munich might be overstated, the reports of him being able to take defenders on one-on-one, having good feet, and getting on the end of balls seem positive. These attributes could help him greatly up top in front of a midfield featuring the likes of Cárdenas, Feilhaber, Rowe, and even Shalrie (who is much more of a creator than he is ever given credit for).
All of this doesn't even take into account that despite stories leaking via Twitter last year, the FO was still able to re-sign Shalrie Joseph to a big contract, which will hopefully let him remain a Rev for the remainder of his MLS career. Nor is it looking at Ryan Kinne's recent positive statements about Jay Heaps or additional growth for Diego Fagundez.
So no, the Revolution have not signed Didier Drogba, Alessandro Del Piero, or Michael Ballack, but the front office has made some intriguing moves. We may sit and moan about mistakes, yet that is just what comes with being a supporters. No matter what the FO does they will never make 100% of the supporters happy. However, it appears that despite the overwhelming negative opinions to three stories (Re-Entry Draft, Lekic-Caraglio-Zerka, and Moreno) there are reasons to stay positive. And at the end of the day, isn't creating a reason for hope what the off-season should be all about?
Which Revs player are you most excited about for the 2012 season?
Fernando Cardenas (1 vote)
Diego Fagundez (4 votes)
Benny Feilhaber (14 votes)
Shalrie Joseph (0 votes)
John Lozano (0 votes)
Tyler Polak (0 votes)
Matt Reis (1 vote)
Kelyn Rowe (27 votes)
Clyde Simms (0 votes)
Other (3 votes)
50 total votes