In the 88th minute of Saturday’s match, Chattanooga Red Wolves waltzed in celebration after punching in their fourth goal of the game. Defeated, exhausted, and uninspired, the New England Revolution II players shook their heads in disgust. For the fifth time this season, the inaugural side would exit the pitch without three points.
After six games, Revs II (1-3-2) sit bottom of USL League One, 11 points behind league-leaders Greenville Triumph. Oddly enough, the Revolution II’s sole victory came against Greenville in a 1-0 win earlier this week. That’s right - in a six game stretch, Revs II have only beaten the king.
Needless to say, it’s been an odd season for Revolution II. Some stretches have been phenomenal, others atrocious. But let’s give them a break; besides the Atlanta United’s of the world, new clubs are prone to experiencing inconsistency. Add in the litany of injuries, absences due to fuzzy COVID test results, and red cards, and the struggles behind Revs II’s inaugural campaign speed into view.
After all, Revolution II is a subsidiary to the first-team; the team provides a place for Academy talent, first-team players, and potential prospects to earn professional minutes. While winning is great, development is the goal - through that lens, the Revolution II project has been far from a disappointment.
One name that headlines Revolution II’s success is Collin Verfurth, a Virginia Tech alumnus who joined Clint Peay’s squad last year. Filled with potential but unready for first-team minutes, Verfurth was a perfect signing for Revolution II; there, he could develop without clogging up a spot on the first-team roster. Sure enough, after six months of training with Revolution II, Verfurth signed a contract with Bruce Arena’s squad. The 6’4” center back still plays for Revolution II, but is eligible to slot into the 18-man roster for the Revs should any injury surface.
Homegrown player Nicolas Firmino, who signed his first professional contract with the first-team in November of 2018, is another token of success. The 19-year-old is rich with talent but still remains a stepping stone away from first-team minutes. Before the inception of Revolution II, a talent like Firmino would be loaned out to another franchise or be forced to watch the first-team play from the bench. A similar predicament pertains to fellow Homegrown player Isaac Angking. With the Revolution II, however, these players are able to maintain some consistency; the two squads share similar tactics, facilities, etc.
On Revolution II, Firmino and Angking are cornerstones of the roster, combining for over 900 minutes of game time and accounting for 60% of the team’s goals this season. They are developing at a rapid speed, directly under the surveillance of Bruce Arena.
Revolution II also lends Academy talent the chance to play on the professional level. For instance, Academy player Colby Quinones burst into the starting eleven when injuries and suspensions ravaged the roster. The Bedford, N.H. native impressed in his debut and hasn’t looked back, earning four straight starts for Revs II. Now, Quinones is an established squad member who deserves consideration every week.
Keep in mind: As a developmental team, Revolution II operates differently than first-teams do. Giving time to Academy talent is prioritized, since the Revolution holds the right to sign any homegrown talent. Furthermore, squad rotation is encouraged since the franchise wants to give looks to many players; side-effects include difficulty in finding squad consistency and lower team chemistry.
New England Revolution fans must understand the goals and plans the Revolution II subscribe to. Once considered, the tangible development cultivated by Revolution II crowds the spotlight.
Don’t view record as an indication of success.