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Rating the Revolution's Four Loanees to the Rochester Rhinos

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A closer look at the four players who played for the Rhinos on loan from New England in 2014

Jay Heaps looks on during the Revs' win over Rochester in the U.S. Open Cup.
Jay Heaps looks on during the Revs' win over Rochester in the U.S. Open Cup.
Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Of the four payers sent on loan to Rochester in the 2014 season, three could have a future in the professional game, but perhaps not immediately in MLS.

Donnie Smith could have benefited from longer loan spells instead of jetting off for a weekend or two. He made an impact in his limited appearances for the Rhinos but lacked cohesive chemistry with his temporary teammates. Smith appears to mirror current Revolution-hero Chris Tierney, in that his true position lies somewhere between fullback and threatening winger. This versatility is a double-edged sword in Smith's case, however, because he was a left back in Revs' training but a winger in a 5-man midfield in Rochester. Smith has talent and the personal drive to stay all smiles despite being shipped off on a day's notice.

Donnie Smith: 6 games, 345 minutes, 0 goals, 0 assists *(he had a second assist which MLS counts but USL PRO doesn't)

Luis Soffner may have also suffered from a sense of uncertainty with his role this season. Soffner was loaned to Rochester around the same time the team signed rookie John McCarthy out of LaSalle University. The two traded off matches early in the season before McCarthy established himself as head coach Bob Lilley's favored goalkeeper. Several times during the season, Soffner flew back to New England to train alongside Bobby Shuttleworth, Brad Knighton, and Larry Jackson in order to check in with the coaching staff. Despite playing with clear second-choice squads in front of him on a number of occasions, Soffner put together a strong body of work in 2914. The 'keeper did make a few notable gaffes but he is a much better player than his raw stats would suggest. Goalkeeping changes were inevitable after the arrival of Joe Nasco from Colorado Rapids on Monday, but the team decided to drop Nasco, Jackson, and Soffner.

Luis Soffner: 10 games, 900 minutes, 2 clean sheets, 1.200 GAA

Alec Sundly is, simply stated, a baller. He started the summer as a deep midfield partner with Lance "Sunshine" Rozeboom before making that role his own in a different formation. When Lilley moved defender Tony Walls into midfield, Sundly often played out wide or at least in more advanced central locations. Sundly was exposed a couple times, as any young player would be, but he had the speed and soccer-sense to recover well on the play each time. Seemingly anywhere Lilley played him in midfield, Sundly adapted quickly and excelled. Sundly can be an all-star in USL PRO, a performer in the NASL, or a utility player in MLS with good coaching and a more defined set of duties on the field.

Alec Sundly: 25 games, 1703 minutes, 2 goals, 0 assists

Jossimar Sanchez did not show well in 2014. Sanchez got chances early on in the season but Lilley did not rate his work ethic or discipline. He's a natural right back but was overlooked at that position for Pat McMahon, Walls, Babacar Diallo, and Patrick Slogic. He featured in midfield once or twice but failed to catch on there either. Even with USL PRO rules that allow 5 substitutions in each match, Sanchez didn't factor as he was regularly left off the 18-man squad. If he is going to continue his professional career, he desperately needed a change of scenery.

Jossimar Sanchez: 7 games, 274 minutes, 0 goals, 0 assists

Following the 2013 season, the Revolution cut all four players that were sent on loan. Though this group contains more talented players, the end result was the same. This time around at least two players could be serviceable bench options in MLS. However none of them is ready to walk into a starting line in that league, not even Chicago Fire or San Jose Earthquakes.

A second consecutive year in which New England failed to retain a single player sent on loan to its USL PRO affiliate has to raise questions about the purpose, effectiveness, and utility of the team's relationship with the Rochester Rhinos.