SBI MLS Team Previews: New England Revolution

New England Revolution - JPEG

By AVI CREDITOR

This is not your older brother's New England Revolution.

It'll be a bit odd to see the Revolution line up without Jay Heaps and Steve Ralston in the mix, but that's what the team is in for after an active, roster-altering offseason that had two of the team's most recognizable faces exit Foxborough.

Nevertheless, with a strong defense, speed on the wings and MVP-candidate Shalrie Joseph in the middle of it all, Steve Nicol's side is capable of adding to its eight-year streak of making the playoffs.

Here is a look at the 2010 New England Revolution:

2010 NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION

Players to Watch – Shalrie Joseph, Kevin Alston, Kheli Dube, Darrius Barnes

Key Arrivals – Preston Burpo, Cory Gibbs, Zack Schilawski, Seth Sinovic, Zak Boggs, Joseph Niouky Desire

Key Departures – Steve Ralston, Jay Heaps, Jeff Larentowicz, Chris Albright, Brad Knighton

Projected Lineup (New starters in bold)

—————Kheli Dube—————Edgaras Jankauskas——–

–Kenny Mansally———-Shalrie Joseph———–Sainey Nyassi—

————————Joseph Niouky Desire—————————

–Chris Tierney——Cory Gibbs—–Darrius Barnes—–Kevin Alston

——————————–Preston Burpo——————————

Biggest Question – Will Taylor Twellman be a factor?

The oft-injured striker's presence changes the complexion of the Revolution's attack immensely. It is still unclear if or how Twellman will be able to help this team, but if (and that 'if' is large enough to fill the closed-off upper deck at Gillette Stadium) he can get on the pitch and be anything close to the feared goalscorer he has been in the past, then the Revolution will be sitting pretty.

Jankauskas and Dube are too inconsistent to be relied upon for steady goalscoring, and first-round draft pick Zack Schilawski, who had a strong preseason, has yet to really get his MLS feet wet. Twellman's inclusion would take a bit of pressure off everybody.

X-Factor – Preston Burpo

With multiple-time MLS All-Star and veteran keeper Matt Reis shelved to start the season and longtime backup Brad Knighton now with expansion Philadelphia, the onus will be on Burpo to keep opposing shots out of the Revolution net.

Gibbs, who was acquired along with Burpo in the Jeff Larentowitz deal, and up-and-comers Alston and Barnes comprise a formidable back line, but it'll be on Burpo to keep them organized while he attempts to do his best Reis impersonation. 

Outlook - It's tough to bet against Nicol taking his team to the playoffs, something he has done every year since he came to New England in 2002. This may be his toughest coaching challenge yet, but with the continued development of wingers Mansally and Nyassi and a defense that should limit the opposition considerably, the Revolution should claw its way into the bottom of the playoff picture.

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49 Responses to SBI MLS Team Previews: New England Revolution

  1. Charles says:

    6 straight years of making the playoffs, you would think that they could find 20,000 people who want to watch. I just don’t get it. Same with Chicago, winning franchises from large metro areas that just can’t draw fans.

    Their loss I guess, the rest of us will enjoy the season which starts in less than 60 hours…..

  2. Limo says:

    8 straight years

  3. Shmenge says:

    Foxboro is 45 minutes from Boston and has no public transportation.

    The stadium is cavernous and covered in blue tarp, the playing surface is FieldTurf, security is Draconian, and no exciting attacking players have been signed in years, much less a known DP.

    So what don’t you “get”?

    And did you actually watch the Revs play last year? Like watching paint dry, with few chances and fewer goals.

  4. Dan O says:

    If they put a soccer specific stadium closer to or in Boston with public transportation access they would fill a 20K seat stadium regularly. Foxboro is a great location for families, not young professionals who actually care about the team and sport.

  5. understood says:

    do you guys think the revs would do well in providence? they definitely have random under/undeveloped space in the city to potentially build a stadium…it gives the revs a real urban city to call home…plus it would help providence establish itself as a bigger deal like they so desperately want to…i mean its already the nightlife capital of new england

  6. Felix says:

    Toyota Park is in Bridgeview, which is located in the the non-descript southwest suburbs of Chicago, and has no direct public transportation.

    They draw decent enough, it isn’t as bad as the situation with the Revs (which isn’t a criticism or a shot from a Fire fan).

    I don’t have alot of complaints on how the Fire draw. I wish it was like the Sounders or Toronto FC, but its not horrible.

  7. Felix says:

    The question is will Bob Kraft ever want to build a SSS when he can have the Revs play in Gillette Stadium for free.

    I don’t like it either, now that Giants Stadium is out of the picture, its by far my least favorite place to watch a MLS game on TV, that on top of the Revolution’s meticulous style of play – just puts me right to sleep.

  8. Josh D says:

    So what’s the outlook with Twellman? I used to think him a fine striker but have lost interest in his injury plagued last few years – any update for me please?

  9. Camille says:

    The nightlife capital of New England???

    Providence is backwards and full of dudes with blowouts and button up striped shirts. The culture is lame and the bars are about on par with Worcester.

  10. Camille says:

    Gillette is an awful place to watch a match (And yet I’m a season ticket holder.)

    That and the 45 minute drive explain why the attendence is awful.

    Kraft might have considered building a soccer stadium / concert venue in the city before the economy crashed but now I doubt it is even on his radar for the forseeable future.

    At this point, and I pretty much live in Boston, I would take the stadium anywhere in Massachusetts and be happy to not watch in Gillette.

  11. Camille says:

    It’s Joeseph Niouky not Joseph Niouky Desire.

    (SBI-The league website has Niouky Desire.)

  12. Reid says:

    I would agree that it is a great location for families… but at the same time why don’t they have more afternoon games, especially in the beginning and end of the season?

    A saturday afternoon game followed by a saturday night out in Boston would be great

  13. Camille says:

    No one knows. Not even the doctors.

    No doctor will say his career is over but no doctor will put him on a time-table for recovery.

    He’s got post-concussions syndrome-like symptoms that stem from his injured neck and spine.

  14. jayboy says:

    I actually sat next to Jay Heaps on a flight Sunday night and we had a long soccer conversation (He was very nice and had a lot of insight into the CBA process). Relevant to this discussion, he was convinced that Kraft was going to get the stadium done in Somerville as soon as the MBTA sorts out some land-use problems with the local officials. I’d put money on seeing the Revs in a SSS by 2014 (but god I hope sooner). The bad news is Kraft will never say anything until everything is completely official and in-place. The good news is that once he does that, I bet he can get it built in 12 months or less.

  15. Ed says:

    This sums it all up perfectly.

  16. Seamus says:

    Revs COO Brian Bilello has stated he thinks “playoff apathy” is to blame for the poor home playoff attendance, that the fans are bored with making the playoffs. Which is fine seeing as I have my doubts it’ll happen this season.

  17. Charles says:

    thanks for the great responses, even that guy who asked me what I don’t get.

    I didn’t get why the greatest game in the world with a good/great team can’t draw. He and others gave great explainations.

    You would think that ownership would look at the Sounders/LA/Toronto and listen. There is huge money to be made…make it and make us happy at the same time.

  18. bwidell says:

    @SBI, yes, but that’s wrong.

    “Almost all foreign players who come into Major League Soccer create slight issues with their names upon arrival, because it’s customary in other parts of the world for children to take both their mother’s and father’s last names (or so I’m told). Hence, most players who come into the league have four names. This was the case with Louis Joseph Desire Niouky. Of course, we were initially told that his name was Niouky Desire, so that’s what we went with … but when we actually asked the player how to pronounce his name after training today, we discovered that he actually goes by Joseph Niouky. First name Joseph, last name Niouky. Pronounced with the correct French accent it should sound something like zho-SEF nyou-KEE.

    As a point of reference, Niouky is not the first Rev to create this issue. Last year, Stephane Assengue was originally announced as Stephane Ombiogno, while the league’s official files still list Mauricio Castro as Mauricio Matamoros.”

    link to blog.revolutionsoccer.net

    (SBI-Did we really need a lengthy comment on this subject? It’s the pre-season, his name will get sorted out soon enough. Let’s move on.)

  19. Aristophanes says:

    Hey, Worcester’s in the midst of a regeneration and rejuvenation, baby!

    Haha…juuuuuust kidding. But I have heard they’re planning on another multi-million dollar project to wipe out large swaths of downtown real estate to be replaced with a giant, empty, concrete edifice.

  20. EkstraBen says:

    So Kraft hasn’t revisited plans to build a soccer specific stadium somewhere in South Boston?

    Poor Shalrie – the dude could have played for Celtic and the MLS pulled the plug. Now he has to go through this rebuilding stage. Kind of feels like a Ray Bourque situation.

  21. This Guy says:

    Poop > Revs

    That is my thorough analysis on the New England Revolution

  22. JohnC says:

    Dan O is completely right. They always have Sat. night games or Wed. night games and because the stadium is so out of the way you can’t bring your family there. I hate Foxboro, hate it with a passion and it has made me so disenchanted with New England. They need a stadium near Boston, near all the Suburbs of Boston and close to the second major city in Massachusetts, Worcester. They need to build a stadium in Framingham. It would be on the commuter rail connecting it to Boston and Worcester and it would be surrounded by numerous towns filled with young families. Framingham also has a huge Brazilian population which might jump at the bit to actually watch live soccer. Eastern Mass has a rich tradition of Soccer and Western Mass possesses one of the most crazy soccer towns I have ever seen, Ludlow. Kraft is really missing the ball on the prospect of growth in Massachusetts and it seems he is content packaging an inferior product as long as Steve Nicol can magically make the playoffs every year. If I’m Steve Nicol I tell Kraft to beat it and go to a squad that is willing to spend, Steve Nicol meet Toronto, Toronto meet the playoffs.

  23. Limo says:

    cross your fingers man. one of the keys to the success of RBA is gonna be how they’ve made a stadium close to NYC and have heavily marketed public transportation. if the Revs did that we’d get 20-25000 easy every game

  24. Camille says:

    Because all those families are at youth soccer games all over the state on Saturday afternoon.

  25. scott47a says:

    Outsider’s take: I think Nicol is a wonderful MLS coach. But this group keeps getting thinner and thinner year after year.

    That strike force is nothing exciting, and I don’t think I’ll ever be sold on the wing combo of Mansally and Nyassi. Yes they are fast. There are a lot of fast guys who can’t finish in MLS.

    There are some high points though. Joseph is probably the best player in the league — at least in the first 11 — and Alston and Barnes were absolutely great last year.

    Still, I don’t know how Nicol gets this group in the playoffs ahead of more talented teams.

  26. Reid says:

    Charles, even though there is money to be made somewhere else in Mass, Bob and Jonathan Kraft will not be happy until every last nickel is squeezed out around the stadium in Foxboro, and there is no more space for all of those ugly buildings.

    I hate giving money to the krafts and from now on will only do so when Philly comes to town.

    I do appreciate everything they did in the early part of MLS, but if they (Krafts) are gonna treat the Revs and soccer as an afterthought its time to sell.

  27. Casey says:

    JohnC,

    Great call on Ludlow, MA! My wife is from there (a daughter of Portuguese immigrants). That place is crazy for soccer, which also is why the Western Mass Pioneers do so well playing there.

  28. Jayrod1111 says:

    Here are 3 things that would make the Revs a better franchise in the eyes of its dwindling fanbase!

    1. Obviously lets move the team to a new beautiful 20,000 seat stadium in Sommerville after the new T is expanded. ( It must be tough for the Krafts to do this when they just expanded Gillette and the team can play for free….but….the fans have spoken)

    2. Lets drop the stupid Revolution moniker and the crappy logo and think of something a little more european. Boston Fc…..Sporting Club Boston…..somthing like that. New colors and Kits would be fantastic.

    3. Lets get a freakin DP please….Joseph looks like a diamond among a bunch quartz out there. He needs some sort of support. A proven….even if former European star is needed to not only help on the field but to grow the brand and also to grow the fanbase….

    That is all I have to say….thank you

  29. Casey says:

    You are so right that Kraft won’t say anything about any plans until they are solid, especially after what happened to him when he talked about building the Patriots stadium in Southie without getting the neighborhood backing first…yikes! That was a nightmare.

    As a fan of the Revs, and of the Krafts, I am trying to stay positive and have faith that they will get a stadium done at some point that highlights the Revs, and doesn’t treat them as an afterthought.

  30. 340234958203 says:

    We lost three fantastic players this year in Heaps, Ralston and Larentowicz. The biggest questions with this team are:

    Can some combination of Nyassi/Joseph Niouky/Pat Phelan replace Larentowicz and Ralston?

    I can’t make an evaluation on Niouky at this point. Phelan and Nyassi are both still young and have a lot of room for improvement. Under Nicol’s guidance, look for one of these players to step up big time this season. It seems to me that Phelan and Niouky will be battling for that central position, it will be interesting to see who comes out on top.

    The other big player we lost was Jay Heaps. Although I am looking forward to his commentary this year, he was not just a great player, but also a leader on the field. Left back could be a weak spot on the field this season for the Revs, with Chris Tierney and Seth Sinovic trying to get a starting role.

    I’m not worried about veteran Preston Burpo I think he will do fine and maybe even make Matt Reis nervous.

    The player to watch in my mind this season is Zack Schilawski. He scored 4 goals this preseason and there has been a lot of buzz about this rookie. Could Zack be the next Taylor Twellman? Only time will tell but he is certainly an exciting prospect.

    Overall I agree with Ives, this team has a lot of solid players despite question marks in a couple positions. They will make the playoffs. If players like Nyassi, Schilawski, Alston, Barnes, or Niouky step up and make a big difference, the Revs could go far this year.

  31. Isaac says:

    I would like nothing more than to see Taylor Twellman get back into form. He has/had all the tools required to be one of the best in the MLS. Size, strength, decent pace, touch, hard worker, good play with his back to goal, good with both feet and can make something out of nothing.

  32. Josh D says:

    Terrible… Could of been a national team player or maybe it is should of been…

  33. RLW2020 says:

    while I agree foxboro has very poor access and overall not a good MLS soccer stadium they have filled it up for Revs games. When beckham comes to foxboro he not only complains about lousy hotels in boston but 25,000+ show up.

    Seriously what are Rev’s fans going to get excited about here? Joseph is like a one man team with two good developing defenders.

    if they were to build a stadium in Somerville or elsewhere in the boston area they would pull 20,000 no problem but in the short term they could also bring in a DP or make some moves to bring in a quality goal scorer!

  34. RLW2020 says:

    i like the line “this is not your older brother’s New England Revolution”… nice

  35. bwidell says:

    @SBI

    Jeeze, someone’s sensitive today…

  36. Isaac says:

    There job isn’t to finish….their job is to get the ball into the attack, and they’ll do that using their speed.

  37. Isaac says:

    I’m with Ives. Why did we need to hear all that for a NAME…..That’s one of the most pressing matters in MLS, sure….

  38. RC says:

    I think going to Boston would be a mistake. I know I’m in the minority. I keep hearing about needing public transportation but besides students and hippies, who’d this going to help? No chance in hell I’m driving into Boston for these games. It’s 60 bucks to park around Fenway for the Sox so translated to the Revs that would be maybe $30? I’m not going to drive to Quincy to catch the T then switch trains 2 times to go to a Revs game with my 8 year old son. Kraft isn’t going to divert people away from Patriot Place. He should build a nice 18-20k seater for the Revs on his property and spend a little more on getting an exciting team.

    People don’t go because the team is boring and the stadium experience sucks. End of Story.

  39. jayrod1111 says:

    Sommerville is not Boston….Very east to get in an out of!

  40. gwb says:

    Well, the player said his name was Joseph Niouky. What more confirmation is needed? I think the player knows his name and what he wants to be called.

  41. BSkillz says:

    I would go with should have been. He is the classic target man that our national team needs right now.

  42. Michael Scott says:

    that’s what she said

  43. Nathan says:

    Ives, New England trialed three players, one of whom is Basel’s Marco Perovic. It was reported they were making an effort to sign him, and he started at left midfield in the pre-season games he was available. Certainly seems to be a quality, capable player from all impressions and what videos were available on YouTube. He could add drastically to the midfield, in a sense “replacing” Ralston as the creator.

  44. Socrates says:

    How long until Revs realize Shalrie is the only guy who can score and move him up to forward like they did last year? Oh wait, he’s also their best creator, and best tackler… hmmm. Talent drain has slowly but surely turned this team into crap. Won’t be in the playoffs this year.

  45. RevsRule says:

    The Revs problems are directly linked to poor management. Year after year they do not sign players that can help while the good ones they had leave as fast as they can. The college draft and cheap players from Africa or Central America will not put people in the stands nor will they win games. New England will support a winner but won’t support the pathetic product the Revs roll out every year. Couple that with “The Morgue” we play in and crappy field turf and it simply isn’t worth attending anymore

  46. Seamus says:

    You’re just not gonna quit with this “change the name to Euro FC United” junk are you? The name isn’t the problem. The location, the apathetic ownership, the anemic/missing-in-action marketing, and the crowded Boston sports marketplace is the problem.

    You put this team in a nice 20K stadium in Somerville (who the hell said Worcester…are you serious?) near a subway station, spend some honest to God money on real players and promotion, and you could call it the New England Teamen again and make money.

  47. over there says:

    Foxborough is a collasal pain to get to. It is far closer to Providence than to Boston, and completely inaccesible by anything but car. You need to REALLY want to see a game to go there. I no longer live in the area, but I catch a game or two per year when I’m home, though I would be hard pressed to expend more effort to see additional games even if I still lived in RI. It is a perfect venue for a Patriots game, and all that entails. I’d rather see the Revs in a smaller stadium. The ownership is disinterested. I think putting a soccer specific stadium in an accessible area close to public transportation would solve a lot of the Revs attendance issues.

  48. roysterer says:

    Well, I personally don’t go (very much) because I can’t get there. I know people who went to school in Boston and never went to Revs games, but have since moved to New York and are Red Bulls season ticket holders (because there’s public transportation access).

    I think Bob Kraft knows perfectly well that public transportation access is important since there are special trains that go to Foxboro for Patriots games. It’s just that he doesn’t give a crap about the Revs.

    Oh and unrelatedly, I think the Revolution is a good name. NER would look good spelled out in different colored seats. But the badge is stupid.

  49. Camille says:

    God forbid someone sources the info they are trying to share.