The 2018 Revolution roster has begun to take shape. Now under head coach Brad Friedel, the club announced a handful roster moves earlier this week, including some that raised a few eyebrows.
As the offseason presses on, our staff took a moment to review the biggest and boldest moves made by the club. These four stood out:
Retaining Kei Kamara
As a whole, the Revolution's roster moves make sense. The core remains intact while some of the fringe players will be departing. The organization will surely add some new faces while hoping that incoming coach Brad Friedel can get the most out of some long-time staples.
That said, I was a bit surprised to see Kamara return. By his own admission, Kamara hasn't exactly had an easy time in New England despite being a prolific scorer elsewhere. His numbers have been okay (12 goals, 5 assists in 31 games in 2017 and 7 goals, 2 assists in 21 games in 2016) but his style just hasn't meshed well in New England. It just seemed natural that Kamara would be on his way out with the coaching change. Perhaps Friedel thinks he has the formula that will get the most out of Kamara. Or maybe a trade is on the horizon. -Seth
Not retaining Xavier Kouassi
The Revolution DP struggled to stay healthy across his season-and-a-half career in Foxboro. After officially joining the club during the summer of 2016, he made just 14 starts, contributing a goal and an assist. But while Kouassi’s productivity failed to meet expectations, he did bring a destroyer mentality to the midfield when healthy. And now, the Revolution have an immediate need at defensive midfield, with Gershon Koffie returning to Hammarby (his loan expired at season’s end) and Daigo Koabayshi’s future uncertain (his contract expires on December 31; he’ll turn 35 before first kick 2018). That leaves Scott Caldwell and Zachary Herivaux as the team’s lone CDMs.
By parting ways with Kouassi, the Revolution have taken a leap of faith. If the club can acquire a game-changing midfielder to replace Kouassi, the move will pay off. If not, the Revs may wish they had given Kouassi one more shot. - Nick
Retaining Femi Hollinger-Janzen
It’s easy to root for Femi. In 2016, the third-round SuperDraft pick defied the odds by playing a role in three Revolution goals off the bench. But during his sophomore campaign, Femi struggled to find that same magic. The Indiana alum played just 148 minutes and, as the campaign wore on, had to compete with rookie Brian Wright for substitute appearances. Neither player added a goal or an assist. The Revolution ultimately decided not to exercise Wright’s option, leaving Femi as the their lone depth forward (for now).
Clearly, the Revs believe they can still tap into some of Femi’s magic. And I absolutely hope they can. But after a quiet 2017 season, I’m surprised to see him back in navy and red. -Nick
Not Extending Andrew Farrell (for now)
Okay, of the four players who are now out of contract—Farrell, Teal Bunbury, Brad Knighton and Daigo Kobayashi—it’s entirely possible the Revs re-sign all of them at some point in the near future. But of these four players, Farrell is arguably the most important as he's a starter and, with the other roster moves that were announced, there's no other right back (besides Kelyn Rowe, sort of) on the club.
Farrell had a base salary of $182,600 last season and $263,600 in total compensation according to the MLS Player's Union and I don't think that's an unreasonable contract. Farrell has been a mainstay in the Revs back line since he was taken as the top overall draft pick five years ago. And after spending a couple of years at center back, I think he made a significant improvement this year with his crossing on the attacking side. Plus, he's still a solid 1v1 defender. Farrell will always be a defensive-first fullback and a really solid one at that. If the Revs don't resign him, I have a hard time believing they'll sign or draft a player better than him for the position for 2018. - Jake