UPDATE: Kyle McCarthy has tweeted again that the Revolution are expected to reject trade offers for Benny Feilhaber. I'll have more as the team releases info.
* * *
According to a tweet from Kyle J. McCarthy, MLS has sent out an email confirming that the New England Revolution selected Benny Feilhaber with their spot in the allocation order.
Proponents of #BringBennyToBoston (myself included) are not out of the woods yet, however; several teams are apparently phoning the Revolution FO right now for trade discussions. The Houston Dynamo is one team that has confirmed its interest in Benny.
In the meantime, the Revs just got a lot better. Feilhaber has experience playing as an attacking central midfielder and as a wide midfielder, especially on the right. If Steve Nicol wants to stick to the 4-3-3 he's espoused to this point, Feilhaber fits right in as a more advanced midfielder in the central three. A fully-healthy Revs lineup could look something like this:
-- Lekic --
-- Perovic --------------------------------- Nyassi--
-- Feilhaber --
-- Joseph ---------------- Dabo --
-- Domi ------ Soares ----- Coria ------- Alston --
-- Reis --
Doesn't that look nice? Shalrie Joseph finally won't have the burden of ball-winner AND creator heaped on his shoulders; he and Dabo can focus on plugging passing lanes, winning the ball and spraying passes from a deeper position, and can pick and choose their spots to make late runs forward and score.
Feilhaber could also play wide right in a flat 4-4-2, though in my opinion that diminishes his talents. Still, it gives the Revs a lot more in terms of depth and options for making in-game adjustments. He has the versatility to set up goals centrally and out wide, and as this goal should remind us, he strikes a ball pretty well, too.
Feilhaber has an offensive mind that the Revs have lacked since Steve Ralston left; maybe since Cancela or Dempsey, too. For all the criticism that has been levied against the New England forwards over the last few years, it's very important to remember that they rarely get any service. Against Houston last week Rajko Lekic barely touched the ball in the second half because the midfield simply couldn't get it to him. Zack Schilawski and Ilija Stolica have done well to show for the ball and try to make something happen as target forwards, but even they are made to work far too hard for their touches.
Benny can help change all that. He will enter play this weekend for his MLS debut and immediately take his place as one of the top-five passers in the league right now; maybe one of the best the league has ever seen. Given a little freedom (which I believe the 4-3-3 can give him), Feilhaber could be the missing piece the Revs have been looking for o turn an anemic offense into one of the most potent in the East.
All of this is assuming he won't be traded, of course. Most experts place those odds at around 50-50.
What do you think? Are you happy the Revs landed Benny? Should they trade him, or should they keep him? What would you take in return from Houston for Feilhaber?