New England Soccer Today

Decisions, Decisions

Revolution head coach Jay Heaps has some decisions to make with respect to his roster. (Photo: Kari Heisad/

With three weeks of postseason training on the agenda, Jay Heaps and Mike Burns won’t have to make any roster decisions just yet. But it won’t be long before the duo get down to work on the 2013 roster.

Yes, the Revolution improved upon their franchise-worst 2011 form. Yet, there’s no question that the rebuilding process will continue during the winter.

So with the regular season in the rear view, let’s take a look at which players, by position, figure to be a part of that process – as well as those who may be looking for another club come January.


For years, Matt Reis has been a rock between the sticks for the Revolution. Years. Whether it’s making a big save or barking out instructions to his backline, the Revolution have relied upon the 15-year-veteran on countless occasions. But after his backup, Bobby Shuttleworth, took over for a brief, midseason spell, then finished off the final four games strong, it appeared that a changing of the guard was underway. Of course, Heaps and Burns will likely remain mum on what their plans are for Reis next season. One rumor has it that Reis fell one game short of a guaranteed option for 2013. So read into that however you wish. However, it’s pretty clear that it’s no longer a matter of if Shuttleworth will take over, but when. By the looks of it right now, the when may have already taken place. As for third-stringer Tim Murray, limited duty in reserve league action hasn’t produced exceptional results (0-3-0, 2.33 GAA), so job security at this juncture is anything but certain.

Probably sticking around: Bobby Shuttleworth
Might need to find another club: Matt Reis, Tim Murray


Say what you will about the back four giving up a few late-game goals. But the goals against stat dipped from 58 in 2011 to 44 in 2012, a 24% decrease. The reason: consistency, especially in the center. Despite some growing pains, A.J. Soares and converted center back Stephen McCarthy meshed well and strengthened the backline. On the wings, Chris Tierney quietly got the job done on the left, while right back Kevin Alston showed his versatility by switching sides when Tierney picked up a lingering knock late in the season. Then, there was Darrius Barnes, a projected starter prior to the season who lost his spot to John Lozano, then McCarthy as the season progressed. Nevertheless, when injuries took their toll in the rear, Barnes re-established himself as a starting caliber defender. Rookie Tyler Polak saw limited action with the first team, and a late-season injury prevented him from getting an extended look before the season finale.

Probably sticking around: Kevin Alston, Darris Barnes, Stephen McCarthy, Tyler Polak, A.J. Soares, Chris Tierney
Might need to find another club: Flo Lechner


In hindsight, it may have been by design that the Revolution carried so many midfielders throughout the season. Earlier in the season, the center half tandem of Clyde Simms and Shalrie Joseph provided the some much-needed stability, with Kelyn Rowe/Lee Nguyen and Benny Feilhaber on the wings. Eventually, though, Heaps dropped Joseph, slid Feilhaber centrally, as Rowe, Fernando Cardenas and Ryan Guy platooned on the right. Following the surprising trade of Joseph, it became Simms and Guy in the center, with Feilhaber and Nguyen out wide. After that, Simms and Feilhaber switched defensive duties, and well, you get the idea. It was a midfield in constant motion. But by season’s end, Simms established himself as the go-to guy at defensive mid, while Nguyen claimed the spot on the left as his before a shoulder injury shelved him for the season. Meanwhile, Feilhaber and Rowe showed flashes, but it was hardly the season envisioned by the former.

Probably sticking around: Diego Fagundez, Blair Gavin, Ryan Guy, Lee Nguyen, Kelyn Rowe, Clyde Simms, Juan Toja
Might need to find another club: Fernando Cardenas, Benny Feilhaber, Sainey Nyassi, Alec Purdie, Michael Roach


When Heaps told the media last November that he wanted to attack, he meant it. So the Revolution went out and signed Jose Moreno, Saer Sene, Blake Brettschneider and Bjorn Runstrom, then added Jerry Bengtson and Dimitry Imbongo during the summer. The results: mixed, to say the least. Despite the hype surrounding Moreno, whom the club designated as its #9, he never panned out, and was cut in August after seven games, with only one goal to speak of. Similarly, Runstrom failed to provide much more than a late-game possibility until the club declined his mid-season option. Brettschneider scored a pair of quality goals, yet struggled to stay in the starting XI. On the other hand, Sene became the first Revolution player to hit double-digits in goals, with 11 to his name before a knee injury cut his season short. Bengtson, who was signed to a designated player deal, scored in his debut, but only added one more before the season came to a close, and a hefty price tag may prevent a return. Imbongo gave the club depth up top but little else, as he struggled to find consistency.

Probably sticking around: Saer Sene
Might need to find another club: Jerry Bengtson, Blake Brettschneider, Dimitry Imbongo


  1. Mat

    November 1, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Do you know how many games Sene and Bengtson played a full 90 together? I don’t know how many it was..but I’m thinking it was a very small amount of time they were actually on the field together. This is why I think I still want to wait and see with Jerry. Bringing in another high quality forward would be great too..get some competition going up there and if things don’t work with Jerry or Sene doesn’t show he’s all he’s cracked up to be (I don’t know about anyone else..but Sene caused me more frustration than happiness this season despite his double digit goals), then we will have a backup plan.

    As for Benny..I still kind of have high hopes for him but if they got rid of him I wouldn’t be upset. His anger is unnecessary and I think his attitude is severely hurting his play. He might be better suited to be playing for a winning team (which would work out great for us if we got the pieces together to be that team).

  2. Chris B

    November 1, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    “Might need to find another club: Flo Lechner”


  3. Chris B

    November 1, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Even though our offseason just started I don’t see why the Revs can’t at least announce some players who are staying. I just read an article from MLS that said the Montreal Impact confirmed about 9 players who are guaranteed for 2013. Why can’t we do that?

  4. Brian O'Connell

    November 1, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    You probably already know the answer, but for the uninitiated, I’ll provide the following hint: Two words. The first rhymes with “Hike.” The second rhymes with “Turns.” Put them together. There’s the answer 😉

    • Chris B

      November 1, 2012 at 6:06 pm

      That hint is harder to figure out than a Sudoku puzzle, Brian! And I hate Sudoku!

      But seriously, the only BIG mistake that the man in question made this year, for me, was Pepe Moreno. Runstrom, White and Lozano didn’t work out (not all signings should be expected to pan out) but Moreno was awful on many, many levels.

  5. rick sewall

    November 2, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    The Revs need someone who can pass the ball and is willing to do so, who is always positive in his attitude with his teammates, and who never criticizes referees or even gives them dirty looks. This type of player behavior helps overall attitude and thereby helps a team to focus on winning.

    • Kevin D.

      November 6, 2012 at 8:37 am

      I miss Steve Ralston.

  6. brian

    November 2, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    First of all, thanks for a great season of coverage. As I’ve stated before the site provides views largely devoid of homer-ism, which while I definitely enjoy every now and again, can already be found other places so for this I am grateful to have found it. I like the analysis in the article. Its hard to find reasons to disagree with any in the might need to find another club bracket. I think there might be even greater turnover in the midfield (and there should be probably in the defense as well). With all the draft picks and homegrown signing in caldwell it seems likely to start quite crowded there again I could not agree more with Rick. That is exactly what that team needs a player with talent that wants to play more than he cares about excuses and the peripheral outside his control. I’d add to my wish list players that give the team more width in the midfield, maybe they have found it with Diego but I am not sure yet. I am not sold on Toja and for me he’d be on my on the bubble list, generally I found performances underwhelming with the big caveat of his lack of play in the past year. That said I’m sure he’d be back. Agree with the analysis on Simms as well, although I still feel this is a possible place for upgrade or at least considering for the future. I’d also add to the wish list a center back who can distribute and lead. I think you either need a more dominant (& consistent) CDM or CB in order for the team to be successful and more effectively possess that Heaps claims he wants to do despite abandoning it.

  7. Brian O'Connell

    November 3, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Thanks for the props, Brian. And I think you made a great point about finding stronger central players. Think about the team’s spine during the MLS Cup runs between 2005-07: Parkhust (CB), Shalrie (CM), Dorman/Cancela/Larentowicz (CM), and Twellman (CF). Not too hard to see why they were so successful.

  8. Mike

    November 6, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Is it just me, or does anyone think that Heaps’ constant tinkering with the personnel and formations caused much of the Revs’ problems this season? Seems like he never gave players a chance to get comfortable, and even when they did he would move them around…think Sene from central to wide.

  9. Brian O'Connell

    November 6, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    Mike, I think injuries/fading form may have played into it. Guy was hurt for a couple of spells, Lee was out the final four games, Shalrie’s form (before the trade) was waning, and Simms didn’t have a great stretch following the trade. A lot of things contributed to the tinkering. Now that said – I agree completely with moving Sene out wide. He’s clearly not all that great on the dribble. Nor is he particularly fast. Baffling move, IMO.

  10. Robert

    November 6, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    I’m looking forward to the off-season. Brian, I disagree with the Bengston assessment. In my small opinion, I think his schedule, with the international games, really didn’t allow him to fully incorporate himself with the club, and he never did look comfortable to me. A full off-season with the Revs will better prepare him for next season, and hopefully Revs Nation will see the player that’s been so good for the Honduran National Team. We will also have a high draft pick (4th overall?), and if recent draft history is an indication, the team will select a very good player; not to mention that Scott Caldwell could be considered a Homegrown Player which means bringing in two highly touted rookies. The Revs did slightly improve in Heaps first season, but I am confident that Jay and Mike Burns will continue to mold the club, and take that giant next step in their second season together and put the Revs in position to, at least, contend for that final playoff spot. All we need now is an announcement for a brand new Revs stadium. Sorry, I know, one step at a time.

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