A Look At The Revs Depth Chart
- Updated: August 29, 2010
Just past the two-thirds point of the season, with the New England Revolution 8 points out of the final play-off spot, it now seems unrealistic to say the Revs are still in the hunt for the postseason. The Revs likely need at least 21 points out of their final 9 games, meaning they would need to outdo even their performance at the end of the 2002 season, in which they finished 6-2-1 for 19 points (5-0-1 in their last 6 games).
With that in mind, filling the roster spot left vacant since Joseph Niouky and the Revs reached a termination agreement over two weeks ago may seem unimportant. However, with nine games remaining it could be a good time to bring another player into the squad and get them some experience going into 2011. It is unknown exactly how much cap space the Revs have available, likely not much, but the holes the Revs need to fill are a bit clearer.
Based on the line-ups and substitutions Head Coach Steve Nicol has deployed this season, the following seems to be the Revolution’s depth chart (starters in bold):
Forwards (2010 guaranteed compensation according to MLS Players Union):
Marko Perovic ($190,000): Perovic is tied for the team lead in scoring with 5 league goals and has added another 2 goals and an assist in the SuperLiga. Perovic has looked very dangerous both in the run of play and taking set pieces and has so far looked to have been an excellent signing for the team.
Ilija Stolica ($221,500): After arriving in early August, Stolica quickly took over the starting spot up top next to Perovic and has two well taken goals this month. The verdict is still out, but Stolica seems to be a solid option at striker so far.
Kenny Mansally ($72,500): Mansaly has recently been the first forward off the bench and got the start when the Revs went to a 3-5-2 formation. Mansally has 3 goals in 14 league appearances (only 3 starts and 439 minutes) and added another goal in SuperLiga play. Mansally has been inconsistent, but provided a good spark off the bench and solid minutes as a starter.
Zack Schilawski ($42,500): Schilawski started his rookie campaign in impressive form, scoring a hattrick in the home opener against Toronto on April 10th and scored two more goals in the next month. Schilawski hasn’t scored a league goal since May 29th, but is second among rookies with 5 goals and added another goal in the SuperLiga. He has lost his starting spot to Stolica and seems to have fallen behind Mansally in the depth chart.
Kheli Dube ($89,000): After sharing the team’s lead in goals last season with 8, Dube has yet to find the back of the net this year. Despite some injury problems, Dube has appeared in 13 games this season and wasted some great scoring chances, though he does share the team’s lead in assists.
Edgaras Jankauskas ($240,000): Jankauskas has barely seen the field this season due to an assortment of injuries, but has looked slow and ineffective when he has played.
Verdict: The Revs have plenty of solid options at striker, but certainly no finishers of the caliber of Taylor Twellman. Perovic is a potential star, but is not a target forward and likely needs to be partnered with one to be at his best up top. Stolica seems to be the only option that has that potential. As the highest paid forward on the roster (other than Twellman), Jankauskas has done little to justify his salary. Having $1.3 million tied up in 7 forwards (including Twellman) is also an issue.
Chris Tierney ($40,000): Tierney has played all over the field for the Revs this season, but has looked the most comfortable and useful at left midfield. Tierney has established himself as the Revs’ best left midfielder due to his crossing ability, smart play, and decent set pieces. He seems hesitant to beat a man on the dribble and lacks the pace to create space for himself.
Khano Smith ($50,004): Smith has shown improvement in his defensive game, but has been ineffective offensively. In his first stint with the Revs, Smith was wildly inconsistent on offense, but occasionally provided moments of brilliance, which seem to be lacking completely this season.
Zak Boggs ($40,000): Boggs provided a creative spark in limited appearances before getting injured.
Roberto Linck ($40,000): Since arriving last month, Linck hasn’t been given enough time to give a fair assessment of this season.
Kenny Mansally ($72,500)*: Mansally in the past has looked better at left midfield, but this season has been more effective in his time at forward.
Verdict: Since Brian Kamler’s stint patrolling the left for the Revs ended in 2004, they’ve signed several left footed midfielders, but have struggled to find an adequate replacement. Tierney has shown great improvement and is a solid option, while Mansally can also prove an offensive spark on the left. Linck has potential. Smith hasn’t been a threat in the offensive third. Perovic can also play here, but is preferred up top.
Sainey Nyassi ($76,750): Nyassi is one of the faster players in MLS and at times uses his speed very effectively to beat defenders and get a cross in. His decision making in the final third can still improve and his crossing needs to be more consistent. Against some of the better defenders in the league, Nyassi can be ineffective.
Verdict: Though Perovic, Tierney, Mansally, and even Smith have all seen a few minutes on the right this season, all are clearly more comfortable crossing the ball with their left foot and are better served elsewhere. Boggs may be a potential option. Only Perovic has shown an ability to cross with his right foot. In the past, with Steve Ralston patrolling the right, the Revs had capable or at least serviceable back-ups such as Andy Dorman, or even Richie Baker and Wells Thompson.
Shalrie Joseph ($475,000): The Revolution’s captain, Joseph is one of the Revs most consistent performers and vital to the midfield. His ball winning ability is second to none on the team and his distribution is also a key to the team’s offense. It’s clear why Joseph is a perennial league MVP candidate.
Pat Phelan ($40,000): Needed to fill Jeff Larentowicz’s spot this season, Phelan has shown some good improvement. He’s not afraid to go into challenges and has overall been solid defensively. Phelan, however, provides little offensively and though he’s shown an ability to get off a decent shot from long range, he has certainly not had the success Larentowicz did.
Jason Griffiths ($40,000): Rookie Griffiths joined late in the season and was quickly inserted into the starting line-up before injuries held him back. In limited minutes he looked comfortable on the ball, but hasn’t seen enough time for a worthwhile assessment to be made.
Verdict: Joseph is the leader of the team and one of the best players in the league. Phelan has proved adequate as a partner, though the Revs could use more on the offensive end from him or to get an upgrade at the position. Tierney has looked decent filling in, while Griffiths has some potential.
Cory Gibbs ($128,142): Gibbs saw most of his time at center back earlier in the season, but has been the preferred choice at left back recently. Gibbs seems to have lost a step from all the knee injuries he’s had over the years, but his experience and good positioning still make him a good left back in this league and his experience is important in a young back line.
Chris Tierney ($40,000)*: When not playing left midfield, Tierney seems to be the second choice at left back. Tierney’s lack of speed has exposed him a few times in this position, while he also seems hesitant to get forward, wasting his crossing ability.
Seth Sinovic ($40,000): Sinovic was inserted right into the starting line-up at left back as a rookie and looked solid before losing his spot to Gibbs.
Verdict: Gibbs has looked good on the left, while Sinovic has proven a more than capable back-up. Tierney is better utilized elsewhere.
Darrius Barnes ($56,250): After starting every game his rookie season, Barnes has again looked very solid this season at the back.
Emmanuel Osei ($52,875): Osei once again has proven to be one of the best one-on-one defenders in the league. His mistakes, however, can prove very costly. Osei, at times, is caught trying to dribble out of the back or sending a poor back pass back to the keeper. His communication issues with Matt Reis have hurt the team on several occasions.
Cory Gibbs ($128,142)*: Gibbs and Osei have partnered well together, while Gibbs and Barnes have struggled at times. Gibbs has made a couple costly mistakes at center back this season, but also shown his experience with good positioning and some key tackles.
Pat Phelan ($40,000)*: Phelan has proven serviceable at center back when called upon.
Verdict: Osei and Barnes have a strong partnership, while Gibbs can step into the middle when called upon. It is a bit worrying that the Revs don’t have more options here and have had to go to Phelan a few times.
Kevin Alston ($124,000): Alston earned an All-Star spot this season, while also earning invitations to U.S. National Team camps. His speed has helped shut down some of the best midfielders attacking down his side. Alston isn’t afraid to get forward; though at times he could do better picking his spots and his play in the final third could use some improvement.
Emmanuel Osei ($52,875)*: Osei has looked serviceable when playing on the right, though he doesn’t look as dangerous as Alston getting forward and he has made some key mistakes in this position as well.
Chris Tierney ($40,000)*: Tierney seems better suited on the left both in midfield and defense, though he has done an adequate job here when called upon.
Verdict: Alston is the only player on the roster that truly seems comfortable at right back and with his hamstring injuries this season, the Revs could definitely use more depth here.
Matt Reis ($182,000): Reis has shown the same form that has made him an All-Star in the past.
Bobby Shuttleworth ($40,000): Shuttleworth has proven a capable young ‘keeper when needed.
Tim Murray ($40,000): Murray has seen no time, so it’s hard to judge his abilities.
Verdict: The starting spot is Reis’ to lose and if Burpo returns next season, the team will have a great back-up. Shuttleworth is a solid third keeper on the roster.
Nico Colaluca ($133,000, Generation Adidas): Midfielder Colaluca has been in the league since 2007, but has seen very limited minutes since joining the Revs last year. Colaluca has seen some time at withdrawn forward and outside midfielder, but it is unclear what position is his best at this level.
Taylor Twellman ($459,000): Twellman is undoubtedly the greatest finisher ever to play on the Revs and possibly the one true star the team has had this decade. He continues to be sidelined for health issues stemming from an in-game collision with former Los Angeles Galaxy goalkeeper Steve Cronin back on August 30th, 2008. Twellman didn’t play at all this season after making only two substitute appearances last season. Twellman and the team will have some tough decisions to make this offseason, but if Twellman cannot play next season, it would be great to see the team do something like D.C. United did with Bryan Namoff (who is suffering from long term symptoms from concussions); giving him a front office position, so he doesn’t count against the salary cap, but is still with the team should he ever be ready to return.
Preston Burpo ($70,000): Burpo did an excellent job filling in for Reis to start the season before suffering a broken leg. Hopefully Burpo can return next season and provide some competition for the starting spot.
*Indicates secondary position.
Final Verdict: While there are plenty of spots the Revs could look to upgrade in the offseason, the most pressing needs currently are right back and right midfield. If the Revs could find a versatile right sided player that can provide cover at both, they would be much better off and not have to shift players out of their best positions when Nyassi or Alston are unavailable.