New England Soccer Today

50/50 Friday: Should the Revs make a serious push to sign Fred?

Every Friday – well, at least that’s the plan – New England Soccer Today will tackle a pressing issue in the world of soccer. Each topic will be argued by a different writer each week,  with guest writers periodically appearing to add some flavor to the mix.

This week, our writers debate the following question: “After selecting him in Re-entry Process, should the Revs make a serious push to sign Fred?” Arguing in the affirmative is Brian O’Connell, while Julian Cardillo presents the dissenting view.

YES. To me, the move just makes a lot of sense. It’s a no-obligation flier on a player who has proven himself in MLS. Sure, he’ll command a six-figure salary – maybe even DP money – and use his interest in South America as leverage. But why not take a shot? Why not extend a hand to a player who’ll sharpen the attack?

Ponder this question: besides a good defense, what’s the other crucial ingredient the Revs were missing last season?

Answer: a good offense. Enter Fred, who shined with DC United prior to his stay in Philly by scoring 11 goals in 72 matches. Granted, his best work came when he partnered with fellow Brazilian Emilio Luciano in D.C, and seemed to have missed that connection with the Union last season. But either way, this guy is a proven commodity in MLS, which is something that the Revs sure could use. You know what you’re going to get with him: a legit, starting caliber MLS midfielder.

In the past, the Revs seemed hellbent on addressing their roster needs through the draft and reserve players. No longer. This winter, with the Re-entry Process as the forum, the Revs have addressed an obvious need and brought in a player who we know can fill the void. Is he the end all, be all when it comes to rebuilding the offense? No way. But if the Revs lock him up, it’s a positive development.

Let’s also not forget that he’s Brazilian. I know, I know…Betu’s Brazilian, too, and attendance didn’t exactly spike when the Revs signed him last summer. However, Fred’s resume is a bit more impressive. His veteran presence on the practice pitch will have a positive impact on a young, inexperienced team.

Given the lack of bite in the middle last season, it would  behoove the Revs to bring Fred on board for 2011 if they want a legitimate shot at returning to the postseason.

NO. Fred, who was left unprotected by the Philadelphia Union, would certainly be a welcome addition to New England’s offense although the team might do better by selling him to the highest bidder. He reportedly has suitors in South America, mainly in Brazil and Argentina, and could pass off staying in MLS if another enticing offer comes about.

The moral of this year’s MLS off-season has been que sera, sera- what will be will be. Portland turned heads when they drafted Chivas USA’s Jonathan Bornstein, who was on his way to Tigres in Mexico, in the 2010 Expansion Draft. Bornstein didn’t stop in Portland after being drafted- he’s already playing with Tigres.

What will be, will be. Fred hasn’t expressed any real desire to stay in MLS, let alone play for New England. A deal between the Revolution and another club for Fred’s rights would be a win-win for all three parties.

After all, history has shown the Revolution haven’t been wildly successful buying, trading, or drafting players who were born south of the Texas border. In 2006, the signing of Jose Manuel Abundis contributed one goal before the Revolution scrapped the Mexican native in the off-season. Honduras’ Mauricio Castro made his way to New England in 2008, but he was subsequently released in May of 2010 for ongoing injury problems and inconsistency on the field.

In regards to Fred, his numbers dwindled in the 2010 season. The Brazilian scored just 4 goals and had 1 assist in 25 appearances for the Philadelphia Union. Fred’s history of scoring shows that he has fallen from his prime, where between 2001 and 2004 he scored 20 goals for America- which isn’t even that impressive.

Now, goal scoring doesn’t tell the whole story when it comes to signing offensive players. But, an attacking midfielder who only had five contributions in front of goal in one year isn’t the answer to the Revolution’s scoring troubles.

At one point in time, Fred could have been considered a legitimate designated player signing for the Revolution. Considering the state of both Fred’s skill and the Revolution, the club can use his rights to add money to the “DP fund.” With money still left over from former players’ transfer fees, including Clint Dempsey’s, Fred would add more money to the prospect of signing a player who truly can make a difference for the Revolution.

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