For the first time in nine years, the MLS playoffs will not be paying a visit to New England.
As a result of their 2-2 draw to Columbus Saturday night, the Revolution bid their playoff dreams adieu with four matches remaining on the regular season schedule.
The official word from MLS, which arrived yesterday, simply confirms what many of us have known since late-Spring: this club is hardly worthy of the chance to contend for a title.
From top to bottom, this year’s club has not only underperformed, but also found themselves outclassed, outgunned, and generally outplayed more often than not. Twenty-ten has not been kind to the Local XI.
In fact, for a team that has a lengthy checklist of troubles, it’s surprising that, with only four matches remaining on the regular season schedule, it even took this long to get the guillotine.
The club’s demise, of course, is attributable to any one (or combination thereof) of the following: a porous defense, an unimaginative midfield, an anemic attack, an incomplete roster, a slew of questionable signings, and, oh yeah, a hazardly assembled set of players.
Yes, all of these issues contributed to the descent of this once-proud franchise. Sure, going to four MLS Cups in six years without a ring certainly stung during that impressive run between 2002-07. But at least the club was contending, which is the exact of opposite of what they did this season.
In retrospect, it was inevitable that the turnover this club experienced – the losses of Steve Ralston, Jay Heaps, Clint Dempsey, Andy Dorman, Michael Parkhurst, not to mention the unlikely return of Taylor Twellman – would eventually catch up with them. And it did in a hurry this year.
It was painfully evident at many junctures: the drubbings received from Real Salt Lake (0-5), Seattle (0-3), Chivas (0-4), and Colorado (0-3). Getting shutout in astounding 11 league matches. The concession of late goals. Khano Smith on the wing (or on the pitch, for that matter).
Perhaps 2010 will serve as the wakeup call that the front office, which has received the scorn of supporters all season, has been in dire need of since the club’s obvious regression since the start of the 2008 season.
After successive seasons of failed draft picks (quick – name a single player from the 2008 class), bloated contracts to inactive players (Twellman and Edgaras Jankauskas), and short-changing homegrown talent (Parkhurst, Jeff Larentowicz, Andy Dorman, and Pat Noonan), management would be hard pressed to simply dismiss the self-inflicted wounds it has sustained since their last MLS Cup run.
Suffice to say, there have been numerous factors which have contributed to to the club’s deteriorating health. Fortunately, the front office will have additional time to address the symptoms thanks to an early-arriving offseason.