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The Case for An Attacking Fullback

The transfer window is open, and adding another option in the back could help the Revs into the playoffs

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

A quality offense isn't made by one or two great forwards. Instead, a successful offense clicks when the whole team is on the same page.

The transfer window is still open, but no players have been signed yet. While signing a goal scorer and a quality defensive midfielder remain the New England Revolution's first priority, adding depth at the fullback position would greatly improve this team.  Andrew Farrell and Chris Tierney have cemented themselves as the best options for these positions, while Kevin Alston and Darrius Barnes have been the go-to backups. A combination of injuries and poor defensive showings throughout the season have forced players like Barnes and Alston to play more than usual.

It is important to note here that I believe both Alston and Barnes are indeed quality players, but they have both shown glaring inconsistencies in the past, including in recent games. In addition to spotty defending, both players (and you can add Farrell into the mix for that matter) aren't very dynamic in the attack, and at times they seem downright hesitant to advance up the field. Chris Tierney, on the other hand, brings something else to the table entirely.

When you look at the top teams in world football, it's obvious how important and effective attacking backs can be. For example, Jordi Alba, Dani Alves, Phillip Lahm, Mathieu Debuchy, David Alaba, etc. are all wonderful defenders, but what makes them so dangerous is their ability to give opposing defenders nightmares.

In a sense, having Tierney on the field is an MLS version of one of those attacking fullbacks. While he isn't the fastest player, his attack rate, quality set pieces, and eye for a pass (or cross) gives goal poachers a chance to do what they do best. In addition to his skill on the ball, his movement up the field causes opposing defense to shift and pressure him, which opens up space for playmakers like Diego Fagundez, Kelyn Rowe, and Lee Nguyen. With Tierney out with an MCL sprain, it's time for other outside backs to step up or for the front office to sign an attacking fullback.

Of course the most probable solution here is for Andrew Farrell to improve his offensive game since he has already established himself as an absolute rock at right back over the last two years. However, if someone else gets injured and Tierney can't return, then adding a more attacking option to the back four wouldn't hurt. Attacking options from the outside back position is something that Jay Heaps clearly values. We have already seen Donnie Smith tried at left back, but it doesn't seem that he's MLS ready. He could, however, be an option in the future.

Because the transfer window is open, why not add a player who could play a vital role for a team that relies on wide service? The player--whoever it may be--wouldn't need to be the whole package, but could instead be a speed guy who tries to get up and down the flank, or a wily fullback who likes to overlap his wide midfielders.

Fortunately, the Revs broke their eight-game losing streak, but that doesn't mean their problems are gone. Indeed they need to strengthen their team while they can to finish out the season strongly.