MLS Closeup: Three steps Revs need to take

The New England Revolution's decision to fire Jay Heaps and name Tom Soehn as the interim coach while it seeks a new coach was confirmed on Tuesday. Owners Robert and Jonathan Kraft said they were making the move so the Revolution "once again return to championship contention." Now in their 22nd season, the Revs have a lot of work to do.

1. Fill holes from the 2014 team.
The Revs reached MLS Cup for the fifth time in 2014 and came away without the trophy for the fifth time. Still, the pieces were in place for New England to remain one of MLS's most exciting team.

Indeed, the Revs have retained their front four -- Diego Fagundez, Teal Bunbury, Lee Nguyen and Kelyn Rowe -- and added to the frontline with Juan Agudelo, Kei Kamara and recently Krisztian Nemeth. Talk about overload.

The problem has been, the Revs have not replaced A.J. Soares (who left as a free agent after the 2014 season and since retired) and Jose Goncalves (who moved to India after his contract was not extended after last season) and midfield dynamo Jermaine Jones (who also moved on, first to Colorado and then the LA Galaxy, when he didn't like the Revs' contract offer).

Xavier Kouassi was supposed to replace Jones in midfield but he was injured before arriving in New England. A year later, Kouassi is one of three Revs on DP contracts along with Kamara (a free agent at the end of the season) and Claude Dielna, not a trio that gives Revs fans a lot of confidence about the future.

Heaps' successor will likely insist on a major shakeup in the offseason.

2. Develop a Homegrown pipeline. Fagundez and Scott Caldwell have played 328 games between them, making them two of MLS's senior Homegrown Players. But that's it for the Revs' Homegrowns. (Zachary Herivaux has yet to play a game this season.)

The academy program has shown some signs of promise, though. The Revs' U-18s won the Northeast Conference title in last year's Development Academy. Daniel Jones and Justin Rennicks have played for the U.S. U-18s and Isaac Angking has been with the U.S. U-17s.

3. Find a stadium for their own. When D.C. United moves into its new stadium in 2018, that will leave the Revs as the only original MLS team without their own soccer stadium.

The Revs average 18,160 fans a game -- better than seven MLS teams -- at Gillette Stadium, which they share with the Krafts' Patriots. The goal is to find a home in or closer to Boston, but the Krafts' efforts have come up short, testing the patience of the Revs' faithful.

Nothing would win over fans -- and prospective players -- like getting their own soccer stadium.
2 comments about "MLS Closeup: Three steps Revs need to take".
  1. John Soares, September 20, 2017 at 1:41 p.m.

    This once (near) top and promising team has been a disappointment for several years. Too bad the Krafts don't apply the same formula to the Revs they use on the Patriots. Win a few cups and the stadium issue will take care of way or another.

  2. Ben Myers, September 21, 2017 at 12:12 a.m.

    After watching the Revs all these years, I have become convinced that the Krafts are unwilling to part with some of their money to attract players to make the team competitive. The team has been on a rollercoaster in the standings since the inception of the league. Rarely do they acquire a player who can raise my pulse more than a beat.

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