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What next for the Revolution?


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You just knew the run would end for the New England Revolution would eventually, but watch injuries destroy the Revs late in the year left you wondering whether these Revs can come back in 2009, or whether it’s time to rebuild.

New England certainly looked like the best team in MLS in the first half of the season, at least before a draining run through SuperLiga and the CONCACAF Champions League left the Revs on fumes.

When you consider how good the Revs were in the first half of the season you can’t help but think this same team doesn’t need much tweaking, but there are plenty of things that could happen this winter to leave you wondering just how different the ’09 Revs will be from the ’08 Revs.

Let’s take a quick look at some things to watch for this winter:

Will Michael Parkhurst leave? As far as walk years go, Parkhurst didn’t have a great one. The 2007 MLS defender of the year struggled at times this year, at least by the very high standard he set last season, but still proved to be the Revs best defender. Now that he is out of contract will become the latest Rev to leave? New England had to be hoping that Gabriel Badilla could be a future replacement, but he hasn’t exactly instilled confidence since joining the Revs.

Will Paul Mariner finally get a head coaching job? It’s tough to imagine Steve Nicol on the sidelines without his partner in crime by his side, but Mariner has long been considered one of the top coaching prospects in the league. Whether it’s Seattle or Colorado, Mariner very well could find a new gig come next season.

Do the Revs let Twellman go? Taylor Twellman has spent the past year pleading with New England to let him make a move to Europe. With the rapid development of Adam Cristman, Kheli Dube and Kenny Mansally, could New England consider it? Revs fans probably remember how well New England played without Twellman early in the season. The real question now is whether there is still interest from Europe for Twellman, who is now dealing with concussion-related symptoms that kept him out of the playoffs. Selling or Trading Twellman would only make sense if Michael Parkhurst left and they needed to make the deal to strengthen the defense. Even then, the Revs would be hard-pressed to replace their most clutch attacking player over the past five years.

Will New England use its Designated Player slot? The Revs showed for three straight years that a team could reach the MLS Cup final without a high-priced player, but it is becoming tougher to justify not using their DP slot. The salary-cap space is there (or at least it was in 2008). It’s time for New England to break down and either by a top striker or playmaker.

What do you see happening to the Revolution this off-season? What changes do you see taking place? Think Parkhurst will leave? Could the Revs really part ways with Twellman? Will New England shell out some big bucks for a designated player?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. What next for the Revolution? Here are my best guesses.

    * I’d be surprised to see the Revolution use their Designated Player slot unless they can get a quality player on the cheap. It’s thought that both Robbie Fowler and Pauletta were offered contracts for 2008, but the money they were asking for was more than the Revolution were willing to pay. That being said, with the Revolution failing to make it past the first round of the playoffs and with attendance figures lagging, the Krafts may think a bit harder about going for a DP in 2009.

    * I don’t see Taylor Twellman going anywhere, at least for the time being. For one thing, he’s still under contract and remains a franchise player of sorts for the Revolution. Second, I’d have to wonder if he’d pass a physical at this point: rumor has it the Revs had to shut him down for the season when they learned his post concussion syndrome was worse than he let on. Understanding this, would a foreign club even take a chance on him knowing this?

    * I don’t see Shalrie Joseph going anywhere for 2009 as much as he’d like to head overseas and test himself. He too is under contract, is arguably the Revolution’s most valuable player, and isn’t someone I’d see the Revolution parting ways with for anything less than good money, I’d say $5 – 6 million.

    * Khano Smith’s contract is up, with it looking quite likely the Bermudian international will explore options overseas, some rumored to be in the English League Championship and League One. I will not be surprised if the Revs expose them in the expansion draft.

    * I believe Jeff Larentowicz’s contract is also up, and there’s been talk (including some from the player) that he’ll explore some options overseas, likely in 2nd tier leagues. Hopefully the Revs offer him a good new contract in the next month or two.

    * Michael Parkhurst’s contract is also up, and with an Irish passport, he can play anywhere in Europe without a work permit. Ipswich Town in England has previously expressed interest in the player.

    * Amaechi Igwe will no longer be eligible for a Generation Adidas (GA) classification, so the Revolution will have to decide whether to re-sign him. My guess is that the Revs will offer him a new contract, but one that’s worth far less than the $103,000 he made in 2008. Understanding this, as well as the limited playing time Igwe has seen (and is likely to see with Heaps starting at left-back), I can see him exploring options elsewhere rather than coming to terms on a new contract.

    * I can see the Revs waiving Pat Phelan, Joe Germanese, Gary Flood, Sam Brill, and Brandon Tyler. I can see them keeping Chris Tierney.

    * While I am not certain, the contracts of Steve Ralston and Matt Reis may be up.

  2. “If Nicol returns and Twellman doesn’t, then I won’t be returning either.”

    Kevin, your attitude explains why the Revs have such a crappy fan base.

  3. Ives,

    I keep reading that Sigi Schmid is Seattle’s top choice for coaching their inaugural season. He has coached Columbus into the favorites slot to challenge for the cup this year. If he does move to the Sounders, what are the chances that my Revs play against a Mariner coached Crew next season?

    Parkie – bye, he is gone.

    TT – shop him, the defensive depth on this team is thin and aging. We will have to spread his goals around, but his money should be invested in solid defending.

    The offense will only work (developing those speedy and talented youngsters) if there is a link between the defensive mids and the top of the formation. Which makes that Gomez suggestion intriguing.

    fans and stadium – quit whining. that playoff game had the shortest time for promotion, was played on a weeknight, and broadcast on national television. Put that game on a weekend night and announce a local TV blackout unless ticket sales are above a certain threshold.

  4. As a Revs fan, I’ve been extremely frustrated with the organization for a few years now. They’ve never really committed fully to winning a championship–choosing to go short on the roster, cap space, front office staff, marketing, etc. And now the window of opportunity is closing on them.

    Not that I believe Kraft will actually spring for it, but what are the chances that Colorado would be willing to deal Gomez? Gomez is aging and overpaid, sure, but if the Revs don’t win next year they’re probably not going to be in the running for the next 3-5 years (with Ralston, Joseph, Twellman, Heaps, etc all nearing the tail end of their careers). Nicol loves Gomez, and a Ralston – Joseph – Larentowicz – Nyassi – Gomez midfield would be pretty nasty.

  5. MLS needs to smarten up and expand the rosters and the salary cap. Sure, it might lose a bit of money but then teams like the Revs could actually compete in all the competitions they qualify for. Which is the point, no?

  6. I don’t see how NE can afford a DP. Forbes ranked the team value 10/13. Plus they only got 5000 fans to their home playoff game vs a team with Blanco and McBride. I don’t get it. Selling Parkhurst and/or Twellman won’t address the dollars since that cash can’t be used on player salaries.

  7. Broken, you must not have payed attention during last years offseason. Twellman and MLS had a transfer all set up, but the Revs put the kabosh on the whole deal. I personally think he’s out of here this offseason. Surprisingly, I think Parkhurst will stay, if not with the Revs, at least with MLS. As far as you people getting excited about the possibility of a DP….keep in mind who the owner is.

  8. As a Revs fan, I was heartbroken but not surprised by last night’s game. I think maybe the Revs have been a little lucky; they have been able to field the same core lineup from week to week. This year it never happened, starting with Twellman’s injury. I think we have to let Twellman, Parkhurst, and even (gulp)Shalrie go see what is out there, and rebuild from there. It may take a little bit, but we’ll be back. And enough about the lack of fan base, yada yada, WE KNOW, especially those of us who do go to the games. I think we’ll eventually get our SSS, but the real games will be political!

  9. I am not a revs fan, so I could really care less what happens to the Buffalo Bills of the MLS.

    Maybe they should work on getting fans to their “team”.

  10. I think MLS should limit the teams’ participation in these cups because they don’t have the depth to participate in them as other teams around the world do–and you see the devastating consequences for NE and DC United.

  11. Amen Cros with the umlauts.

    Secondly, it is puzzling how the Revs haven’t tried to peddle Parkhurst out to European squads. They always knew he had the passport and desire to test the Euro waters….

    He’s been a loyal soldier, and has performed much better than expected, so I wish him all the luck. I think he needs to go somewhere and develop a more physical presence to complement all that brilliant positioning.

    I just hope he doesn’t wind up languishing in obscurity in the Scottish Prem League.

    Remember Andy Dornan with all his promise and potential.

  12. NE doesnt have to do much of anything….

    look, they are still a solid team and they have some quality up n’ coming….

    tightshirt isnt going anywhere…. he has bailed NE out of so many scraps with teams ive lost interest and count…. i dont like him for obvious reasons (as a fire fan), but i know his abilities quite well.. NE did well without him, but that’s b/c (like Hou) they have a solid core…

    Not much you can do with Parkhurst, who becomes a free agent…. if he gets interest he’ll make the move, other wise he’ll resign… it’ll be a blow to the NE defense, and they NEED to fill the hole

    Mariner is most likely going to make the jump soon enough, but that is not going to be that big of a blow… you still have Nicol who instills confidence in the team and any NE fan…. he’ll find a replacement and get the job done…

    i feel NE is set to see a couple rough seasons (by their standards)… i see them as playoff contenders regardless, but their dominance will faulter…

  13. I think what New England really has to do this offseason is get their stadium in Somerville started. New England and D.C. United desperately need stadiums; a good atmosphere and consistent fanbase in Boston is severely lacking right now.

  14. I’d sell TT while he’s worth some cash, he’s on near DP wages anyways….and put the money into pay a DP striker that will replace him….and maybe even pu a few bums on seats at Gillete where their attendances have been largely embarrasing.

    I hope Parkhurst stays, but I can’t help but feel he’s ready to move to Europe and play. He’s not physical, but in the physical MLS he showed he had the smarts to play the sweeper role to a tee. In a less physical league he could be outstanding.

  15. I’m a Revs fan, I can see Parkhurst and Twellman at least looking for European opportunities. I’m not sure if they’ll find what they want, but I’m sure they’ll look around. I think it’s unfair to criticize the Revs about a lack of a DP. They’ve been on record as searching for talent, and have made offers to Robbie Fowler and Pauleta. But everyone has a proper price and value, and sometimes the bests moves you make are not overpaying for a player (as opposed to Denilson, Christian Gomez, injury-ridden Gallardo). The Revs will continue to draft well, I’m sure of that. Where Mariner goes depends on the offer. Obviously it seems like he’s not going to leave for just anything. It has to be a better situation than he has. Honestly I’m impressed that the Revs have kept this team together this long, in the age of salary cap constraints. The team is all about the Spine up the middle – Reis, Parkhurst, Joseph, Ralston, Twellman. They’ve plugged players in and out on the sides of that, but once they started losing guys from that spine you could see the effect on the field.

    I think Step One has to be to figure out what Parkhurst and Twellman want to do. Because if they leave, that’s two big holes to fill. They do have plenty of young talent that has shown well in spots (Igwe, Tierney, Dube, Mansally, Nyassi, Phelan, Thompson). I think any team could say they could use a goal-scorer, but it depends on Taylor, if he’s healthy and if he stays.

  16. My point is that he should have never been considered for the Defender of the Year award. While its true that there are not a lot a good/ great defenders in MLS (thanks salary cap), here is my list of players that were better than Parkhust this year IMO:

    -Nat Borchers

    -Bobby Boswell

    -Wilman Conde

    -Jimmy Conrad

    -Frankie Hejduk

    -Jason Hernandez

    -Drew Moor

    -Jamison Olave

    -Gonzalo Segares

    -Bakary Soumare

    -Marvell Wynne

  17. The Revs should use the cap space to keep their good players. I’m sure they are glad they played harball with Noonan last year.

    I don’t see Twellman being as attractive to European clubs this year as he was last year. So I think the door has shut and he will stay.

    Parkhurst can do whatever he wants. He’s out of contract and has a EU passport. It’s all a matter if he can find a club who wants him.

    As far as the future is concerned, its time for NE/Nicol to fall back on the legendary development machine that turns college players into productive pros. I hear Nicol is the best in the business. Besides, Kraft is not likely to spend very much cash on players.

  18. The Revs need to draft better in the high rounds than they have been in the last few years. First the Brazillian, next Thompson, then Valentino. They used to draft so well-Twellman, Parkhurst, etc. Is it because Sunil Gulati is advising them less?

  19. Wow, does Taylor really want to try playing in Europe again? I thought he was past that after his experience at 1860 Munich. It would suck if he and Parkhurst left. However, it would open the door for a DP, though I’m not sure that’s the right answer. I’m okay with changes as long as the Revs don’t return to their pre-2000 form.

  20. Dr dcr, his play fell off (a clear notch below his 2007 form) in a walk year, that would constitute it not being a great walk year. That said, he was still one of the better defenders in MLS (let’s face it, there aren’t a ton of great defenders).

    Is that clear enough for you?

  21. Tough times ahead for my Revs.

    Parkhurst – if he’s out of contract, then I’m surprised they didn’t transfer him to get the money. Now he can just walk away and the Revs get nothing out of it. As much as I like Parkhurst, I think the time has come for him to move across the pond to further develop his game.

    Mariner – it’s hard to say what will happen here. Clearly Mariner and Nicol have a coaching relationship and friendship beyond a lot of what you see in pro sports. Unlike other assistants in pro sports, you never hear of Mariner looking to find that promotion to head coach. While he may be sitting in Nicol’s shadow, the working tandem they create may be just what he wants. So I really don’t know what will happen here. I hope he sticks around, personally.

    Twellman – Taylor Twellman is the first Rev whose name I heard when I started watching MLS. If I had to choose a number one favorite player, it’d be Twellman (Matt Reis is a close second); and if I got a Revs jersey, it’d have his name and number on the back. The Revs could get some pretty decent money for his transfer, and I think they should go that route. We’ve got a number of players coming up through the ranks, so I think there are enough candidates to replace him. And with the money we get from Twellman, we could fortify the defense a little more, especially if we let Parkhurst go.

    DP slot – I’m kinda torn on this one. Do the Revs need a DP? Certainly not. We’ve done well this long without one, and I don’t think one is necessary going forward. However, a DP (probably someone up front to take over Twellman’s spot (or Ralston, if/when he calls it quits)) would not be a bad thing. I actually don’t see the Revs going with a Beckham-profile kind of guy but more of a slightly lesser known player that’s a bit younger that some of the other DPs and is worth the money. They’ll want a player that significantly contributes on the field as well as puts butts in the seats (not that Becks, Blanco, et al don’t contribute, but they are on the downswing of their careers). At the very least, if it comes down to it, a DP would help get butts in the seats, which would be good to see at The Razor (even better if we had a stadium in Sommerville…).

    Overall, I think we’re at the point where we need to let the (relative) youngsters step up and let the veterans make their moves elsewhere. One question I’d like to know is what of Shalrie Joseph? Certainly there has to be some interest in him, and if so, when do we let him go?

    The Revs are a quality team that has been built, but it cannot be left to stagnate. As sad as it will be to see Parkhurst and Twellman move on, I think this is the time to do so.

  22. I think Parkhurst, twellman and Joeseph should move on. Shalrie has immense value (or should). Twellman’s value is down, but if you can get max allocation funds, then let him go. Parkhurst needs a bigger challenge.

    Also, letting players move on to greener pastures in a professional way will drive more good players to want to sign with your club. They have a PR issue to address between Twellman, Noonan and Dempsey’s departures (or non-departures).

  23. They should do the right thing, and let Twellman and Parkhurst go to Europe.

    The Revs could then take the allocation money to rebuild the team around the solid base of Joseph, Reis, Larentowicz(I know I spelled that wrong), Nyassi and Dube, to have a strong team in the future. Add an attacking midfielder to that group and they could still make a run next year.

    Seattle would be dumb to not get Mariner…he will be a great head coach!

  24. I am a Revs’ fan, but a realist, too.

    I am amazed at how many media people say that the Revs were so good during the first half of the year. They were an average team that got many lucky breaks.

    Matt Reis played the best ball of his life early in the year saving what few shots he faced as Revs’ opponents repeatedly proved they couldn’t hit the side of a barn. The defence gave up too many quality chances that opponents squandered far too often.

    In the second half of the year opponents found their shooting boots and put many of those shots past Reis, especially after Reis returned from his injury — he wasn’t his Superman self after he returned. When the Revs had to produce goals to overcome their own defensive deficiencies, their offence was exposed as very ordinary.

    Injuries and a congested schedule are never an excuse. The Revs were an average MLS side in 2008.

  25. The Revs need to rebuild. Let Twellman and Parkhurst go as they’ll both probably want to leave. I think Khano Smith is a good player, if he’d just stop some of his childish antics and smarten up. Nyassi is promising. They should find a DP that fits them and integrate some younger players into the squad.

  26. Here you say that Parkhurst didn’t a great year but in your ESPN article for postseason awards you thought he deserved a mention for Defender of the Year. Which way do you really feel now?


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