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With tomorrow's MLS roster freeze, and the recent lack of appearances in the starting XI, could the New England Revolution possibly be looking to trade Benny Feilhaber? If so, what could they get for him? Well, let's discuss some options, shall we?
Benny Feilhaber is a commodity, there's no question. A pre-Jurgen Klinsmann era US National Team frontrunner with a killer through ball, Feilhaber is known as a quality midfielder with an attacking presence and a determination to get back into the USMNT picture. But what seems to have come to light in the past few weeks is that perhaps he doesn't fit into Jay Heaps' long-term plans. Having been benched without even a substitute appearance in their most recent match (a win against the Columbus Crew), and a decent amount of time on the bench otherwise, Feilhaber has seemed to fall out of favor in the Revolution starting XI.
Meanwhile, key midfield components like Lee Nguyen and Ryan Guy have continued to prove their worth game-in and game-out. And with the recent addition of attacking midfielder Juan Toja, many believe that Benny's days in Boston are numbered.
With the MLS roster freeze tomorrow, there is a possibility that Heaps and company may be looking to make a deal to see what they can get for the blue-eyed starlet (this is basically based off of nothing, but why the hell not, right?). So, I thought it might be fun to postulate some potential trade possibilities within MLS as we approach the roster freeze deadline.
First up to consider is the Revolution's need for reinforcements on defense. With two converted midfielders, Stephen McCarthy and Chris Tierney, prominently featuring on the back-line, along with the inconsistency of Kevin Alston and A.J. Soares (at least towards the end of the season), New England is in dire need of a veteran presence to help pull this unit together. So, who might be an option exactly?
Kofi Sarkodie - A former Akron Zip under Caleb Porter, Sarkodie would basically slot into a Revolution line-up at right-back (a position that many of us here at The Bent Musket would argue needs an upgrade). Sarkodie is still young, only 21, and would give the Revs the ability to groom him for the position while still having the veteran presence of Florian Lechner to rely on. Could the Dynamo use Feilhaber? Sure they could, but perhaps not as much as other teams.
Chance Myers - Sporting Kansas City could certainly use some midfield reinforcements, particularly with the recent national team absences of Graham Zusi and Roger Espinoza. Feilhaber could likely slot right into this midfield and be surrounded by a variety of talent. Plus, with Kansas City looking firmly in the MLS playoff picture, Benny could very well be looking at an MLS cup appearance with this team. Again, this would be filling a perceived need at right-back. If Myers wasn't an option, other players that New England could find some value in might be Soony Saad or Michael Harrington.
Philadelphia Union - okay, so, this team could actually give the Revs a plethora of options to play with if they were to entertain the idea of Feilhaber. Firstly, continuing our right-back trend, is Sheanon Williams. I would argue that Williams is truly a complete MLS right-back. He can do it all-he's got pace, a great cross, a superb vision for attacking and defending positioning, and the versatility to also slot in a center-back. For me, this would be a pipe dream. However, the Union have other quality pieces that the Revolution could find useful as well, such as Amobi Okugo. Okugo, hailing from UCLA where many present-day Revs played college ball as well, is also young (21 years old) and could straight up be our guy at CB, pushing both Soares and McCarthy to cut out the simple mistakes if they want to keep their playing time.
On the attacking side of the ball, New England certainly could benefit from some depth at striker. There's no doubt that Saer Sene and Jerry Bengtson are the Revs' top options up top. But, after them, are Diego Fagundez, Dimitry Imbongo, and Blake Brettschneider who have all basically had pretty unremarkable seasons more or less. Another player in the mix might just spell the end for one of these current Revs or, at the very least, make for some fierce competition for minutes.
Bright Dike - Dike's situation is one where he is likely looking for some minutes. The Timbers have several quality options ahead of him in the pecking order, which has resulted in Dike even having spent some time this season loaned out to USL Pro side Los Angeles Blues. Dike, 25, may just have the right combination of determination and un-tapped potential to make himself a career on a squad that is thirsty for production and goals.
Seattle Sounders - the Sounders are a team stacked with quality talent. While they may not find much use for the midfield services of Benny Feilhaber, they certainly could offer the Revs plenty of options. For one, David Estrada would be a huge addition. He was on a straight-up goal-scoreing tear at the beginning of the season before breaking his foot in May. The numbers (and the planets) would have to align just right, but Estrada could arguably make a case for starting XI minutes as soon as he was healthy again. As for defenders, well, I'd take just about any of them-Ianni, Johansson, Parke, Hurtado, you name them and I would take them. But, again, Seattle doesn't exactly seem like a team that would need a midfielder at this point, particularly with the recent addition of Honduran international Mario Martinez.
D.C. United - Okay, so, I don't exactly have anyone specific in mind. But, United just lost their captain, Dwayne DeRosario, for 12-14 weeks. They may just be desperate enough for someone like Feilhaber if they want to stay in the playoff picture this year. Although they just added him recently, Mike Chabala would be a great addition to this New England squad. Perhaps more intriguing, however, would be Joe Willis. Willis showed that he can be a starting-caliber MLS keeper towards the earlier part of the season as Bill Hamid spent some time with the US National Team. Willis, who is only 24, could just be the heir to Matt Reis' throne, and could be our guy for years to come.
So, there you go-there's some fun trade ideas for you to mull over and argue with me about. But, certainly you have your own ideas, right? Well, if so, let us know in the comments section. Let's hear what you have to say. Who do you think the Revs could land for the likes of Feilhaber? OR, are you perhaps totally against the idea of trading Benny? Let's hear it.