The Couch Captain in Review: Forward Thinking

Jared Wickerham

Even with all of the new faces in 2012, the Revolution only increased their offensive output by a single goal over 2011. With another off season and some time to heal, can the Revs offense kick into high gear in 2013?

After all the pomp and circumstance heading into the Jay Heaps era last offseason, and the "We Will Attack" mantra plastered all over New England, the Revs really didn't see any improvement in the goals category.

While, at times, the soccer was fluid, and dare I say, attractive, the results weren't there. Heaps brought in several fresh faces, some that were good and worked out, and some that weren't quite so good.

The bad? Bjorn Runstrom, Jose Moreno (shudder), Blake Brettschneider, and Dwayne Smith, to name a few. The Moreno saga was ugly, poorly executed, and did nothing but sour the fan base on the acquisition. The others? Quite frankly, just weren't good enough and didn't pan out. These things happen.

The good? Saer Sene was an absolute revelation (albeit an extremely, and almost comically, one-footed one) and the Frenchman gave the Revs their first dangerous striker in I don't know how long. Double-digit goals, a flair for the game, and even a little diva to his attitude all came together in one entertaining package.

The REALLY good? Jerry Bengtson. Not necessarily his play in his first few months of his Revs career, but the sheer fact he became a Rev is what impresses me. The Revolution front office went out and got one of the hottest strikers ON THE PLANET in the middle of his hot streak and got him to sign the dotted line. It showed an initiative and drive that the front office doesn't always seem to possess.

Hopefully, after a full offseason (and more importantly, some rest) Bengtson will come into the 2013 MLS with plenty of pop, and will make the impact that Burns and Co. were expecting him to make.

How does the rest of the strike force shape up? Honestly, it feels like a bunch of question marks. Diego Fagundez is looking more and more like a midfielder on this team every day, Dimitry Imbongo is nothing short of a long-term project, and as far as the rest? There isn't any! The Revolution currently only have FOUR listed forwards on the team's roster, and one of them (Sene) is recovering from season-ending knee surgery. Feeling confident yet? Didn't think so.

*****

Want some good news? This year's draft crop is loaded with forward talent. While I don't see the Revs using their newly-acquired #1 overall pick on a forward, you can bet the house on the fact that they will be taking a forward in the second round. Book it. So, here are a few prospects to target on draft day:

Eriq Zavaleta, Indiana. You've heard the name here, and on the Midnight Ride Podcast. Big Z has been the apple of many Revs' fans eyes, and *should* be the first forward off the board, even though he is listed as a center back.

DeShorn Brown, UCF. Pace, strength, and a nose for goal all come together in an impressive fashion in Brown. Made the Conference USA best XI, scoring 13 goals in 2012.

Jason Johnson, VCU. The Jamaican-born Johnson has all of the physical tools necessary for MLS's rough and tumble style of play. A member of Jamaica's U-23 squad, Johnson may need some patience as his goal output isn't quite what scouts would like to see.

Ryan Finley, Notre Dame. Finley was a college standout at both Notre Dame AND Duke. He made the all-conference team in both the Big East and ACC, and is a two-time NSCAA All-American. 58 goals in his college career, and loads of potential.

Ashton Bennett, Coastal Carolina. I was actually on the Bennett bandwagon LAST year. A great combine showing (scored two goals in his three games) will help his stock, but if he's available with the first pick in the second round, the Revs should be elated.

*****

It's no secret the Revolution are going to need to take a big step forward (no pun intended) with their guys up top. 39 goals isn't going to be enough, and if the playoffs are to be a realistic goal in 2013, Bengtson and Company all need to find a way to put the ball in the back of the net.

Today's draft will be really exciting for Revs fans with all of those picks, let's just hope one of them ends up on the scoresheet this summer!

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