Amid the controversy surrounding the Jose Moreno fiasco, an interesting piece of news came to light on Thursday. After he was waived - rather surprisingly - by DC United on February 3rd, second-year forward Blake Brettschneider tweeted today that he would be joining the New England Revolution for a trial on Sunday. According to Sean Donahue at New England Soccer Today, the Revs confirmed this little bit of news, and it looks like New England's little island of misfit trialists is taking on another one.
Brettschneider performed reasonably well in his rookie season, earning 15 appearances (nine starts) while scoring a goal and notching two assists. Those numbers don't exactly stand out, but he was a second-round Supplemental Draft selection, so it is probable that DC was expecting even less of him going into 2011.
I'll be the first to admit that I don't know too much about this kid, so I enlisted help from an expert. ChestRockwell from Black and Red United graciously answered some questions about Blake Brettschneider that I sent earlier today. You can read the Q&A after the jump.
Why do you think DC ultimately decided to let him go?
United probably let Brettschneider go due to the acquisition of Hamdi Salihi and Maicon Santos. Both are target forwards, like Brettschneider, and with Dwayne De Rosario and Josh Wolff both available to play the withdrawn role, Brettschneider probably wouldn't have seen that much time.
There were also reports after his release that he was not performing that well in camp. No one said it was a fitness thing, so he likely just caught a bad run of form at the worst possible time.
What can you tell us about his game?
Brettschneider does have the ability to play with his back to goal, and has decent speed for someone his size. He also has decent instincts for a forward. A lot of bigger American strikers (Kenny Cooper, Nate Jaqua) like to drift wide, but Brettschneider seems right at home staying in a central position and getting in close to goal during attacks.
Did he demonstrate a lot of versatility last season?
He didn't show much versatility, but then he was never asked to either. His role for us was, without fail, to lead the line up front. He did play a little right midfield in college for reasons beyond my comprehension
How do you feel he did with the time he was given to impress last season?
I was reasonably impressed with him to the point that his release was bad news in my book. He has the tools to become a quality MLS striker, and you don't just find those guys in the 2nd round of the draft every year. He very nearly scored a season-preserving goal for us against Portland late in the fall; this would have been the biggest on-field moment of our season if he hadn't been correctly flagged for offside (odd play where the last defender was not the keeper for a moment).
Bias aside, do you think he'd be a good pickup for the Revs?
Brettschneider would be an improvement over any out-and-out striker currently playing for the Revs (now that this Pepe Moreno deal appears to have fallen through). If the Revs sign Jaqua, Brettschneider won't be first choice, but otherwise, he could start for New England this year. He also got a lot of unsolicited praise for his qualities as a teammate from United's squad.
How do you think he will ultimately do in his career?
I doubt he'll ever be in contention for a national team spot, but he should grow into a solid starter on an average MLS team (meaning he might not start for a top 2 or 3/Supporters Shield contender quality team).
So, from eye-witness reports it would appear that Brettschneider is promising if unpolished, and while he won't shock anyone, he's definitely something a basement team like the Revs could use. Overall, I would say that the plethora of pundits who were surprised by his release have already given their own ringing endorsements, and coupling that with these comments, I have to say I'm hopeful he gets a spot on the roster.
Especially if Moreno doesn't get here.