At the end of last season former Revolution head coach Steve Nicol found himself with a team out of playoff contention and with some injuries to boot. Of those injured was Sainey Nyassi, who claimed most starts on the right wing for the Revs in 2011. With all these factors in play, it was the perfect setting to take a good look at mid-season addition Ryan Guy.
A little over a year ago, Guy was starting regularly for St. Patrick’s Athletic in the League Of Ireland (also referred to as the Airtricity Premier League), where he had been for four years since turning down his developmental contract from FC Dallas (he was drafted by them in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft). Over those four years, Guy racked up his fair share of plaudits including scoring the only goal in a UEFA Cup qualifying match against the Latvian side JFK Olimps Riga and being chosen for the Airtricity League XI who played an inaugural match against Manchester United, among other significant accomplishments.
In an email conversation with John Riordan, sportswriter and columnist for the Irish Examiner, I was able to get some further perspective on the west-coast winger that I think is worth noting for us Revolution fans. Firstly, John explained Guy to be a very prominent player for St. Pat’s, which is probably already obvious from the aforementioned successes of his 4-year span for the club. In fact, from all I have read about him, Guy sounds like he was a true fan favorite. His talent and lack of significant injuries led him to be featured regularly in the Starting XI.
In the few appearances that Guy has made for the Revs, I think that we’ve been able to see what he is good at. At St. Pat’s, he was particularly known for his strength at coming off the wing and making the inside-forward run into the box, according to John, which we even saw in the 45 minutes he played last Saturday against Sporting Kansas City, as well as other times (remember his brace against Chicago last season?).
John was able to offer me a glimpse into the League Of Ireland and how he believes it compares to MLS. Much like MLS, the LOI is both physical and quick, although generally agreed to be not as good as MLS, with time on the ball being a bit less prominent. And I would even argue that Guy has quality and skill as a player who can keep the ball at his feet. Not many players have made the transition from the LOI to MLS, but Guy may have just what it takes to be one of the first to do so, and more importantly to thrive.
With all his success in Ireland, playing in a league not all that dissimilar to MLS, and showing his quality and value for the Revs at the end of the 2011 season, I would posit that 2012 is the prime time for the 27-year-old winger to breakout and help the Revs get back to winning ways. We’ve already seen the leadership and composure that he can bring to the midfield, and with injuries already coming into play this season, maybe the time is now for Guy to make the most of his chance—-as long as Heaps gives him that chance. And I, for one, have faith that he will.
Watch the last two minutes or so of the video below for Ryan Guy's impact against Chicago last season, including his two goals: