You only get one chance to make a final impression. For a handful of Revolution players, that chance comes during tonight’s Desert Diamond Cup consolation game.
With four players on trial, and some on contract hoping to avoid a ticket to Rochester (or getting waived, for that matter), there’s nothing consoling about Saturday’s match.
Let’s look at five players who, despite differing circumstances, have to etch themselves into the technical staff’s collective mind tonight.
Cameron Brown: The team brought in Brown, a former teammate of Stephen McCarthy’s at North Carolina, likely to shore up numbers on the left, especially in light of Chris Tierney’s injury. The one-time top college prospect has been beset by injuries himself, and there are serious questions about his ability to stay healthy. Nevertheless, he’s not your typical rookie: he’ll turn 24 next month, and it’s hard to imagine anyone on the roster who’s got a bigger chip on his shoulder. He might be longshot to sign, but isn’t that one of the reasons why we pay attention to the preseason?
Matt Horth: The club signed Horth last month knowing that forward depth will be a pressing concern this season. With Saer Sene unlikely to return until April, and Jerry Bengtson likely to continue to miss time due to World Cup qualifying, the 6-3 Horth will be counted upon to provide a presence inside the 18. However, with Diego Fagundez projected as the team’s starting withdrawn forward, and Chad Barrett and Dimitry Imbongo also in the mix, Horth my find the majority of his minutes this season in Rochester.
Gabe Latigue: On Wednesday, the former Elon midfielder showed why he’s the lone player from this last month’s supplemental draft currently in camp. His 57th minute free kick assist on A.J. Soares goal gave us a glimpse into what Latigue brings to the table. Aside from his strength on set pieces, the supplemental pick has also shown versatility this winter, featuring in middle and in the rear. Whether that’s enough to have the club present him with a contract remains to be seen.
Sainey Nyassi: Since taking the reins, grand visions of a dangerous and dynamic Nyassi have taken hold of Jay Heaps’ mind. Partly – or perhaps, largely – due the performance of twin brother, Sanna, many on the technical staff believe that Sainey is overdue for a breakthrough season. But the fact is Nyassi is entering his seventh – yes, seventh season – in MLS. His form hasn’t improved in the last three years, and there are serious questions as to whether he’ll ever reach the potential that former manager Steve Nicol envisioned when he first arrived in Foxboro in 2007.
Tyler Polak: The sophomore defender saw considerable action during Wednesday’s Real Salt Lake game, but he’ll have to do much more to stay with the first team this season. Yes, the injury to Tierney may keep him in Foxboro to start the season, and he may very well use that opportunity to his benefit. Yet, Polak hasn’t quite put together a performance worthy of a Generation adidas player. He still has time, of course. At 20, Polak will be given every chance to succeed, whether it’s at Sahlen’s Stadium or Gillette Stadium.