New England Soccer Today

Too Manny miscues

It wasn’t surprising that the New England Revolution waived Emmanuel Osei on Monday. After all, with the Revolution’s signing of Ryan Cochrane and selection of promising center back A.J. Soares during Thursday’s SuperDraft, it appeared Osei’s days in Foxboro were numbered.

Emmanuel Osei was waived by the Revolution on Monday. (Photo by CHRIS ADUAMA/

And with good reason. The Ghanaian center back, who was brought into the fold in 2009 via loan, never seemed to mesh especially well with the rest of his Revolution teammates during his two seasons with the club, both on and off the pitch.

Which isn’t to say that he was a terrible defender. Not at all. Looking back at his two seasons under Steve Nicol, the mercurial Osei was probably one of the team’s best man-markers and would routinely smother the opposition in and around the 18.

But what doomed Osei from the start was his puzzling lack of communication with his goalkeeper and fellow defenders. There were many a time when Osei must have thought himself an island in the midst of a navy blue sea because, whether it was a language or personality issue, the Ghanaian was unbelievably tight-lipped on the pitch.

And the defense, as a whole, suffered for it. Last year, the Revs reached the half-century mark in goals allowed. Of course, injuries across the field played a big part of that embarrassing statistic, but Osei’s silent treatment toward the rest of his ‘mates certainly didn’t make matters much better.

His teammates, to their credit, did their best to play with their silent partner. Whether or not he was ever called out on it within the confines of the locker room is unknown, yet there were certainly times during post-match interviews when Matt Reis would indirectly allude to his displeasure at the lack of communication from his center back.

In addition to his underwhelming verbal skills, Osei had a peculiar penchant for turning routine clearances into unscripted adventures. Whether it was a lackadaisical pass amid three attackers or a mis-hit on a dangerous ball in the shadow of his net, it was no sure thing when it came to getting the ball out of harm’s way.

Despite Osei’s calamitous form, perhaps the most disturbing aspect of it is that he never appeared eager to correct these obvious flaws. In his two years with the team, he was often isolated from the rest of the team during training, apparently content to sail his own course without seeking the help or input of his peers.

In retrospect, perhaps it was Osei’s reclusive personality – one which also earned him a six-month ban for insubordination while with Romanian club Politehnica Timisoara back in 2006 – that prevented him from blossoming here in New England.

On the pitch, it appeared he simply tried to do too much and ignored his teammates with alarming regularity. Off the pitch, there were times that an obvious disconnect existed within the locker room, where many players are often seen chatting amongst each other. Rare was the occasion that Osei was seen bantering with the boys.

As we all know, soccer is a game of communication and talking to each other. It’s about eleven players all working to get on the same page within a 90-minute window. It’s the essence of playing as a team.

The fact that the solitary Osei somehow managed to stay on the roster for as long as he did, and hold down a starting spot at that, isn’t surprising. It’s shocking.

One Comment

  1. bkupp

    January 18, 2011 at 7:49 am

    Too bad it couldn’t work out – Osei provided some of the most skillful defensive play we’ve ever seen in Foxborough.

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