With the excitement and craziness of the 2012 SuperDraft in the rearview, it’s time for teams around MLS to get down to business. Camp opens tomorrow and the Revolution still have plenty of work to do. I figured that this frigid, lazy Sunday would be a good time to take a look at the Revs’ off-season thus far and outline some of the storylines moving forward.
To begin, several key additions to the Revolution squad will not be present for the opening of training camp tomorrow. Colombians John Lozano and Fernando Cardenas will not be able to join the club until their P-1 Visas and International Transfer Certificates are processed, which can’t be done until the January transfer window officially opens on the 24th.
The Revs’ first round selection from the SuperDraft, Kelyn Rowe, will also not be joining his new teammates this week as he is still fulfilling his international duties with the US Men’s U-23 National team who are preparing for this summer’s Olympic games. Also on international duty with the US Men’s Senior National team is Benny Feilhaber, who was called up by Jurgen Klinsmann to the January training camp roster.
While Monday marks the opening of Revolution training camp, the MLS Supplemental Draft will take place on Tuesday where the Revs will look to make 4 more additions to their squad from the group of college players who were not selected in Thursday’s SuperDraft. While the Supplemental Draft does not offer quite as much high quality talent, it can still serve to provide some squad depth--something that the Revolution are in dire need of.
With a current midfield that can best be described as crowded, the Revolution should aim to add depth to their forwards (of which they currently boast only 3) as well as the back line. Some worthwhile options for the Revs to consider on Tuesday, in my opinion, are Evans Frimpong, a speedy and elusive forward from Delaware who had a decent combine, and Justin Chavez, a centerback from Tulsa who had an excellent combine by most accounts and would add some quality depth at the position of which the Revolution currently only have 3 players (Soares, Barnes, and Lozano). And although our midfield is, as I’ve said, quite crowded, the Japanese youth international Kohei Yamada had a stellar combine and would be hard to pass up on in the first round on Tuesday.
Assuming the Revs grab at least one forward in the supplemental draft, they would be a desperately needed addition to our forward corps, currently occupied by Zack Schilawski, Diego Fagundez, and Ryan Kinne, who did not get a single start with the first team in 2011. With Milton Caraglio gone and Rajko Lekic likely following him, this is the most pressing position for the Revolution to fill. It’s obvious to pretty much everyone, including coach Heaps, who has mentioned on more than one occasion that they are actively looking to sign a proven goal-scorer to the roster this off-season.
"We've been looking for goal scorers, we're still going to look for goal scorers + we're going to make a move to get a goal scorer." - Heaps— Jeff Lemieux (@jeff_lemieux) January 13, 2012
The Revolution currently have 3 open international spots on the roster as well as a lot of cap space to work with, especially when you consider the likely exits of our three 2011 international signings, making Shalrie a DP, and our two draft acquisitions both being Generation Adidas players and therefore not affecting our cap. Revs fans are certainly waiting with bated breath for a big signing in the coming month or so.
All things considered, the Revolution off-season thus far hasn’t been all that terrible. The situation surrounding Caraglio, Lekic, and Zerka is definitely not helping anything, but the signings of Lozano and Cardenas are a good step in the right direction to make up for it. The Revs also had a pretty damn good draft this year, so there’s also that. But the biggest question mark moving forward is who Jay Heaps and gang will be bring in to score goals in 2012. There's still a lot of work to be done, so time for the Revs to roll up their sleeves and get to it.