In the wake of the Expansion Draft, the New England Revolution placed three players on waivers, making them available for selection in the subsequent Waiver Draft. Alan Koger, Otto Loewy, and Andrew Sousa were cut after making exactly zero league appearances in their rookie seasons. As it turns out, they weren't picked up in the Waiver Draft by anyone else; only Nizar Khalfan found a new home through that process, moving to to the Philadelphia Union.
In the grand scheme of things this is no more than a blip, noteworthy only for the fact that news is slow in the offseason. However, I have some strong feelings attached to this move. The lack of playing time these guys were given in 2011 is, in my mind, nothing short of criminal. In my opinion, if you look at the worst team in the league and see any senior players with zero first-team appearances, despite spending most of the year perfectly healthy, then the decision-makers are doing it wrong.
Steve Nicol insisted when pressed last year that he was putting the "best XI" on the field time and time again. But as that "best XI" lost games and conceded goals like it was going out of style, it was hard not to wonder if giving one of these guys a shot just for the sake of mixing it up would have been the best move. I'm firmly in the camp that believes it would have.
It's also tough for us to really know what these three could have brought to the table. Even for those of us fortunate enough to see a few reserve matches, the haphazard and shortsighted way in which the team was assembled meant that the reserve squad often had to play guys out of position. Tough to say what Koger, for example, could have brought to the attack at his natural position of striker when he spent some of his valuable playing time in central defense.
Where's the logic in keeping a 6'2" college standout on the bench when you have the third-worst attack in the league? Koger appeared in both the Revs US Open Cup play-in games and scored the game-winning goal against DC United, and scored twice in reserve play. That should have easily been enough to get him a sub appearance. Instead, he got his pink slip without ever getting a chance to prove himself.
Andrew Sousa also scored twice in reserve matches and also appeared in the US Open Cup. Sousa is an attack and possession-oriented midfielder blessed with surprising technical ability. There were times this season when Benny Feilhaber was hurt or otherwise out and the Revs were trying to run a three-man midfield, and Sousa would have been a perfect fit in the attacking role. Instead, he barely ever made the bench while the Revs ran defensive-oriented lineups that struggled to string passes together - and, ironically, still gave up a ton of goals.
Otto Loewy scored a goal in the reserves and, like his two brothers-in-waivers, appeared in the US Open Cup play-in games. By all accounts, Loewy didn't look like a revelation or anything as a defender. That said, the Revs gave up a staggering 58 goals; only Toronto conceded more. No one is going to convince me that Loewy wouldn't have been a better choice than Franco Coria or Ryan Cochrane at times this season.
And so, we bid adieu to three young men who were never given a chance to earn our adulation or our scorn. Perhaps it's better that way, for them and for us. Now, they can forever be the messiahs that weren't given a chance, and should they come back to town (and should anyone recognize them) perhaps they will receive a warm welcome. I just hope all three get a chance to continue their professional soccer dream instead of fading into oblivion like so many others.