With the halfway point of the preseason approaching, we look back at the last two-and-a-half weeks to offer 30 thoughts/observations/random ideas related to Revolution camp so far.
1. As of Wednesday morning, the Revolution have yet to make a major offseason acquisition. Meanwhile, conference foes D.C., Toronto and Columbus (to a lesser degree) have all bolstered their rosters this winter. It may be early – extremely early – but right now, the road to the postseason looks a heck of a lot tougher than it was last year.
2. Last week, Jay Heaps said that the team was actively looking at two potential signings. Given the club’s “train first, then sign” policy of late, we could very well see these targets – if we haven’t already, of course – next week in Tucson.
3. It’s February 12, 2014. Do you know who the Revolution’s starting striker is?
4. Or how about the Revolution’s starting defensive midfielder? Scott Caldwell? Andy Dorman? A player yet to be acquired?
5. Going back to strikers for a moment: one player who’s shined thus far is none other than first round pick Patrick Mullins. The 22-year-old rookie has showcased versatility and keen instincts through his first three weeks as a pro, and could be in line for a spot in the starting XI come First Kick.
6. While Mullins is off to a flying start, the club’s other first round pick – Steve Neumann – remains grounded with an ankle knock. Unless the former Hoya heals quickly, it could be a trying spring as he attempts to get caught up to speed.
7. You heard it here first…or second…or fifteenth: Andrew Farrell is going to see a good chunk of minutes at defensive midfielder in 2014. Actually, 2013 might have been the last time we see Farrell play exclusively at right back.
8. It’s hard to judge based upon preseason stats from the first three games of the winter, but right now, it appears Bobby Shuttleworth still has the edge over Brad Knighton in the battle for starting goalkeeper.
9. Buzzword of camp: progression.
10. Who thinks that MLS clubs located in cold climes should train down south all winter? Anyone?
11. Preseason camp was a lot more interesting with Marko Perovic around.
12. Ditto for Evan Melo.
13. Juan Perotti, we hardly knew ye.
14. Twenty-seven: that’s the number of players in camp with the Revolution right now. Note: that’s still two below the maximum, assuming trialists Alec Sundly, Jossimer Sanchez and Pierre Omanga are signed. And, by no means, are either of the three guaranteed roster spots.
15. The Revolution currently have three open international spots.
16. Jerry Bengtson still plays for the Revolution.
17. Meanwhile, former Timbers forward and Dorchester, Mass. native Ryan Johnson was in town last weekend training with BSSL side First Wave. Johnson was extended an offer to remain with Portland for the 2014, but he declined to pursue a European deal. If I’m Mike Burns, I’m monitoring that situation very, very closely.
18. Well wishes to assistant Jay Miller, who left the club over the weekend to reportedly attend to his family. Heaps’ right hand man will be missed.
19. One of the more intriguing Revolution-related storylines of the upcoming Desert Diamond Cup: Charlie Davies out on the wing.
20. Heaps said that wins aren’t the priority during the preseason, especially during a shortened one like this year’s. Even so, expect winning to mean a little more in Tucson than it did in Bradenton.
21. Has the Jose Goncalves contract situation been resolved? If not, then there’s a good chance 2014 will be his last year in New England.
22. And if that proves to be the case, that Michael Parkhurst trade is going bite the front office in the rear. Unless, of course, they use the allocation money to land a legitimate goalscorer.
23. The Revolution could do worse than trying to work out a deal to bring in Toronto FC’s Matias Laba.
24. Let’s hope the new Revolution home kits look nothing like Real Salt Lake’s. Woof.
25. Staying on the fashion tip: the new gray training kits are pretty sharp.
26. Not so bold prediction: Dimitry Imbongo is going to outscore Bengtson for the second straight season.
27. If the club gave halfway-point-of-the-preseason MVP honors, O’Brian Woodbine is perhaps the most deserving of it.
28. Is it too late to move Stephen McCarthy back to the midfield?
29. Paolo DelPiccolo, picked by goal.com as the club’s projected breakout player for 2014, is going to play 25-30 games this year. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing remains to be seen.
30. Don’t look now, but First Kick is only 24 days away.