New England Soccer Today

Revs’ SuperDraft report card

After all of the mock drafts, selection swapping, and scarf christenings, the 2011 MLS SuperDraft is now in the books. With that, the New England Soccer Today writers took a look at the New England Revolution’s picks and gave their grades.

Julian Cardillo

Grade: A-
Going into the draft, the Revolution needed to continue rebuilding last year’s defense (which allowed a league-high 50 goals), work on finding midfield players that can pass and open up space alongside Shalrie Joseph, and find an adequate answer to their goal scoring problems. I think the Revolution would have done better to draft a forward in the first round, but defense is the next priority.

A.J. Soares, pictured here with MLS Commissioner Don Garber, was taken by the Revs with the 6th overall pick. (Photo courtesy

A.J. Soares was arguably the best center back at the Superdraft, regardless of whether or not he had a good Combine. He has the potential of being just as much of a difference maker for the defense as Michael Parkhurst was, but make no mistake, they both have very different playing styles.

The Revolution did somewhat answer the call for a better offense by picking up 3 forwards, though I doubt Ryan Kinne, Steve Perry, or Alan Koger are forwards who can replace Taylor Twellman and score 15-20 goals a season. If you don’t believe me, just look at the numbers. Twellman was drafted second overall in the 2002 Draft. Kinne, Perry, and Koger were all drafted in the third round. These boys, while very talented, have some developing to do. I say this was a move for depth and we will likely see the Revolution’s hopeful DP signing be the real offensive weapon.

Finally, the midfield. The Phelan-Joseph combination is not working well enough to open up space and serve the ball to the forwards and wingers. The Griffiths-Joseph combination is also untested. The Revolution looked to change the midfield situation by selecting Steve McCarthy, who was touted by many as the best central midfielder in the Draft, in the second round. McCarthy can pass, open up space, and at 6’4” he is a dangerous weapon on set pieces.

So, all in all, the Revolution had one of their best drafts in recent years. They added depth to the offense, further solidified the defense with arguably the best young defense talent in America, and added a spear-head to the midfield.

Sean Donahue

Grade: B
2011 has the potential to be one of the Revs best drafts in years – and that’s just if their first two picks reach their projected potential. The Revs avoided past mistakes, staying away from injury prone players, steering clear of those likely to check their options in Europe before signing, and not reaching for players expected to go much later in the draft.

Instead, the team ended up with two players already signed to the league that could well be in the starting XI to begin the season. In selecting A.J. Soares, New England got the top ranked center back according to many pundits prior to the Combine. Soares may well prove the perfect partner to Darrius Barnes, and at the very least adds needed depth to a team that saw everyone on the backline miss significant time to injury in 2010.

In Stephen McCarthy, the Revs got a player who seemed likely to go in the first round. The imposing center midfielder should have a great opportunity in the preseason to prove he’s the right partner for Shalrie Joseph. McCarthy looked to be one of the top prospects at his position prior to the draft and seems a steal with the 24th pick.

Their grade is only lowered because of selecting three forwards in the final round. The Revs need help up top, but seem unlikely to have found any upgrades, instead just adding to a crowded field of forwards who failed to stand out. That said, Ryan Kinne, a two-time First Team NSCAA All-American may well be another steal so late, especially if he can put pressure on Sainey Nyassi at right midfield.

Brian O’Connell

Grade: B+
Overall, I think the Revs did a pretty good job strengthening their spine, which was probably the biggest culprit behind much of their failures last season. Looking at some of the curious selections made by the competition (Omar Salgado at 1? Really, Vancouver?), it’s fair to say the Revs came away early winners at SuperDraft.

By many accounts, A.J. Soares appears to be a classic cerebral defender who could successfully inherit the lone center back’s spot that Michael Parkhurst once occupied when the Revs played a 3-5-2. Note: the Revs won a lot in the 3-5-2.

Adding Stephen McCarthy, an imposing presence in the central midfield during his time in Chapel Hill, was a masterstroke of a selection – one that the front office must be thanking the soccer gods for after the Tar Heel fell into their laps in the second round. If he partners well with Shalrie Joseph, there’s no telling how much better the Revs could be in 2011.

Taking three attacking players in the final round are low-risk/high-reward selections that, bare minimum, bolsters the competition up top. Competition = good.

It’s rare that an MLS team finds a pair of quality players who could, realistically, find themselves in the starting XI once March 20th arrives. My only reservation is that they should have taken a forward (either Will Bruin or Corey Hertzog) in the first round. But, then again, it’s hard to argue that contention after they landed a stud center back at six.

Carl Setterlund

Grade: A-
Stevie Nicol’s Revs squads have historically been outstanding up the spine. Over the past few years the inevitable, unpredictable nature of sports has hit New England hard as Michael Parkhurst went abroad, Steve Ralston finally aged and retired and Taylor Twellman picked up an injury he couldn’t come back from.

I like Darrius Barnes and Ryan Cochrane but adding a top centre back prospect was necessary. A.J. Soares was probably the best fit available and I can’t think of a better pick at #6 except maybe adding forward Will Bruin. With Shalrie Joseph turning 33 in May and Pat Phelan still something of an uncertainty, defensive mid Stephen McCarthy was a great value and a great fit in the second round. I can’t say I know too much about the third-rounders, but I’ve watched Nicol pluck too many contributors out of nowhere in the late rounds and supplemental draft in the past few seasons to question him too much.

If one of Kinne, Perry or Koger play any sort of role I think you can upgrade this to a straight A. Only Houston had a better draft relative to where they were picking in my estimation.

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