7 Spots To Fill, No One Panic...
There's so much worry on the Twitter timeline. I feel like someone needs to say it. We're going to be ok. Our team currently consists of these players. I'm going to preface this that I think we're ready to take on the season as it is.
Edwards Jr., Earl
Caicedo, Luis Alberto
I know not everyone agrees, but I can look at that roster and say this is a team that can compete in the playoffs again next year. And to calm some souls out there, I'm going to show you how I feel so calm.
I'm going to take away the players that played in the playoff games last year.
The players that no longer play for the Revolution that played in those games, I will show in red.
Knighton, Brad Rowe, Kelyn
Rivera, Damian Nguyen, Lee
Verfuth, Collin Mancienne, Michael
Edwards Jr., Earl
Caicedo, Luis Alberto
Looking at that list, it seems as though the Revs kept a decent base of our team that excelled at winning in playoff situations. As well, it also shows that we replaced the players that Bruce Arena felt compelled to use in those playoff games. Michael Mancienne is easily replaced by AJ DeLaGarza. AJ is a player who has shown greatness for twelve seasons in MLS. If you look up "blunder" next to DeLaGarza, there aren't many moments that pop up.
I've seen words thrown around that we need a "creative midfielder like Lee". Entirely agreed and I believe Arena served his answer in Wilfrid Kaptoum. He's an agile, younger player who's last few games showed a player who can create. His most recent full game stats involve a passing accuracy stat over 85% with 3-4 long balls per game. As well, Kaptoum is a force in the middle third, making a couple interceptions and tackles per game.
A Kelyn Rowe replacement might not be extremely easy to find. Rowe was versatile in the best ways. It also seems to be his downfall. He's a jack of all trades, master of none. I would offer Damian Rivera as an upcoming player to replace Kelyn. 10 key passes in 14 games last season with Revolution II, completing one assist. 80% passing accuracy, he's a major strength in the middle and final third sharing his passes in all directions. His ability to cause set-pieces with ease is a positive that came out of last year. He was fouled 12 times and only committed one foul back in all games.
Here we are sitting at February 17th in a year where the regular season doesn't start until April 17th. That's an entire two months until the first game. I'm not going to say the Revolution got everything right because it doesn't feel like they did. Bruce Arena promised a couple returning players and it seems he only got one to return in McNamara. We have four open senior roster spots and two international spots right now. Bruce promised another signing before the beginning of the season. As well, club president Brian Bilello during a Season Ticket Holder event, noted that the Revolution were finishing up some contracts, although they were marred by the recent CBA negotiations. Bilello also pointed to the fact of having a couple open international spots. Recently, the Revolution were rumored to have been contacting Malmo FF for the services of Iceland national team mainstay Arnor Traustason. I wonder if that's the signing that Brian was alluding to mentioning the international contract. He could also be noting on one of our draft picks, Edward Kizza, who would take up an international spot as well.
Otherwise, the front office hasn't alluded to much in the way of signings or contract extensions except for a silly post that MLS Social Media legend Willy Whitelaw threw up on January 8th.
Do I think the Revs are ready for the season? Yes, I think they can make it happen with what we have on our roster as it stands. Do I think they need to make signings right now to fill the senior roster? I would say that we will at least use two of those senior roster spots before preseason. Leaving room for some sales and shifting of balance of money in the summer transfer window would not be a horrible idea for the Revs. They just came off a season where the summer transfer window was a band-aid for the team. The Revolution need to make a grand stance of their team going forward and add in some competition in key spots.
For my own personal expectations, I want Arena to keep true to his word for the singular signing. For team strength, I'd love at least one more on top of that. And to finish out the supplemental spots with some promising Revolution II players, ideally, Tiago Mendonca, Ryan Spaulding or Maciel.