At the New England Revolution media day yesterday, there was cautious optimism that the Revs can build on last year’s 9-18-8 record.
A year ago the Revs were in transition as the Steve Nichol era ended and the Jay Heaps one was just beginning. But 12 months on, Revolution General Manager Mike Burns in pleased with how this past offseason went.
The Revs signed 11 new players, with the emphasize in bringing in bigger, stronger and more experienced players. Last season, teams took advantage of of the Revs lack of size in midfield to bully them., That will not be the case this year.
The Revolution also traded up in the draft to get defender Andrew Farrell and head coach Jay Heaps has been impressed with Farrell in preseason. Farrell can play either as a central defender or as a right back, and I expect him to start the season as right back as he makes the transition from college to MLS.
Last season New England struggle to score goals, scoring only 39 times in 35 games. This season, Heaps and the Revs are expecting big things from Honduras striker Jerry Bengtson, who scored two goals last season.
Heaps said it was difficult to incorporate Bengtson into the side last season because of his international responsibilities. With World Cup qualifiers and the summer Olympics, the longest time Bengtson spent in New England was 2 ½ weeks. WIth less travel in 2013, the Revs are hoping for double digit goals from Bengtson this season.
The other area the team is looking to improve on in 2013 is how to win close games, which is another reason the Revs went out and signed experienced players like Andy Dorman, Chad Barnett and Jose Goncalves this offseason. Last season New England conceded five game-winning goals in the last 15 minutes of games, Jay Heaps hopes that the new signings can provide the type of veteran leadership the club was missing at times last season.
No Revolution media gathering would be complete with the prerequiste stadium question. Revs President Brian Bilello was clear that the club sees their long-term future in a soccer special stadium in the Boston area that is served by public transportation. The two likely destinations are Somerville and Revere. Where the Revs stadium gets developed is dependant to some degree on the pending casino legislation in MA, but it looks likely that the Revs will still be playing at Gillette for at least the the next two seasons.
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