New England Soccer Today

5 Pressing Questions for Revs

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

With another disappointing season in the books, the questions surrounding the Revolution this offseason are plentiful, to say the least. But some are more pressing than others, and with that in mind, we take a look at the five most urgent.

1) Who will be the coach next season?

The field is wide open and it’s anyone’s guess to who will be leading the ship. From Shalrie Joesph to David Moyes, wild rumors lead to endless possibilities about who will on the sidelines at Foxboro next summer.

Entering a rebuild and with a solid young core in place, the Revolution are likely looking for a coach who works well and develops young players. Don’t be surprised if former Revolution players Giovanni Savarese (head coach of the New York Cosmos) and Steve Ralston (assistant coach of the San Jose Earthquakes) join the mix. Interestingly, Ralston interviewed after Steve Nicol was sacked in 2011 before Jay Heaps to get the job.

The Revolution are reportedly interested in former Argentina National Team coach Daniel Passarella, as well as former Chicago Fire head coach and current U.S. Men’s National Team assistant Dave Sarachan. Interim coach Tom Soehn has already expressed interest in the job, and will probably get an interview, but it’s unknown if he’s the leading candidate.

2) Who’s the odd man out up top?

When New England acquired Krisztian Nemeth in the 11th hour of the summer transfer window, it created an awkward situation with Kei Kamara, Juan Agudelo, and Teal Bunbury already fighting for minutes. Not only do all four have the quality to start in the MLS, but it created a huge imbalance of salary committed to the forward position, totaling nearly $2.5 million in annualized guaranteed compensation (based on 2017 salaries) between four players who likely won’t be on the field at the same time.

This is a good problem to have for the Revolution, as any of the four could be used as a trade chip. Leading scorer Kei Kamara, who enters the last year of his contract in 2018, figures to be the most expendable considering his age (33) and salary ($800,000).

3) Should the Revolution sell high on Lee Nguyen?

With the Revolution bringing in a new coach, officially marking a new era, quite possibly the most divisive question is what to do with Lee Nguyen. After reportedly rejecting a transfer bid from Israeli side Maccabi Haifa, the Revolution now enter the offseason wondering if the man who has been at the core of their offense the last five years will be a part of it going forward.

Nguyen turned 31 last July and, with a younger Kelyn Rowe making noise with the U.S. National Team in the summer, it isn’t a stretch to consider Rowe would be a better fit for the Revolution who are starting a rebuild. In addition, Nguyen would be attached with a steep price on the MLS trade market, which would re-stock New England’s balance of allocation money for future acquisitions. Nonetheless, losing Nguyen would be a massive blow to New England in the short-term, as Nguyen has continued to be one of the Revolution’s best players year in and year out, and doesn’t appear to be slowing down.

4) Is Cody Cropper the solution in goal?

When the Revolution signed Cody Cropper in the middle of the 2016 campaign, he appeared to be a perfect fit to replace the outgoing Bobby Shuttleworth. Fresh off League 1 experience with MK Dons in England. As an up-and-coming 24-year-old, Cropper looked to be the goalkeeper of the future.

Or not. A full year later, Cropper doesn’t appear to be much of an upgrade at all. Despite upgrades to the back line in the preseason, the Revolution have conceded more goals in 2017 than in 2016. While not all of that can be attributed to Cropper, he is dead last among keepers with 20 appearances in save percentage (57.3%). Advanced analytics aren’t a fan of Cropper’s performance either, as Cropper conceded 0.41 goals more than expected per game, the most of any keeper with over 2,000 minutes played. The Revolution might be suffering from buyer’s remorse and look to upgrade in the offseason.

5) Have we seen the last of Chris Tierney in a Revs jersey?

New England has already said goodbye to Jay Heaps, and it’s entirely possible the franchise will be departing with another legendary long-time fullback this offseason. Tierney’s tenth season with the club came to a close on Sunday afternoon, and his status with the team remains in doubt if he will be back for an 11th year.

Tierney doesn’t appear to fit in with the Revolution’s rebuilding plans, and a new coach may opt for greater speed at left back. Additionally, Tierney battled injuries throughout the 2017 season, playing fewer minutes in any season since 2009. It’s entirely possible the local product comes back as a rotation player or is given a chance to solidify a starting role with the team in 2018. But asking a proven player to take a backseat to the next hotshot fullback might serve as the impetus for Tierney to call it time on his remarkable career.

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