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New England Revolution

03 January 9:31 pm

Fredy Montero maybe never knew it or others purged it out of him: But like it or not, no matter what the formation may show on any given matchday, Montero is an old-school No. 10.

A No. 10 as in a supremely skilled, game-breaker. They may not be the fastest, the tallest or the strongest, but they're capable of that stroke of genius that other players can only dream about.

No. 10s are hot and cold. They're often enigmatic and maddening. They need freedom because they don't fit a specific mold. They can't be judged by the same measure as other players. They're different.

Well, since Montero was counted on for goals (he did score double-digit goals in each of his four seasons), we could instead use the "No. 9.5" label that Michel Platini once coined for Italian Roberto Baggio: the No. 10 who also finds the back of the net.

Whichever label fits him best, it's no secret that tweeners like Montero are dying a slow death in modern soccer, which is increasingly based on athleticism and production. The sport has very little patience any more for the artisans, whose production may not always be reliable or punctual, but whose craft is inimitable.

If Montero's return to Colombia does materialize, MLS will have lost one of its artisans -- the author of some of the best goals in league history. True gems. But these days the Sounders are not interested in art and pretty pictures. They want goals. Goals that win them trophies.

Montero's exit, if it happens, would follow that of No. 10's Sebastián Grazzini (Chicago Fire) and Davide Chiumiento (Vancouver Whitecaps), who departed during the 2012 season. Toronto FC also sent attacking catalyst Joao Plata back to Ecuador in midseason.

Meanwhile, as creative types like Freddy Adu (Philadelphia Union) and Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers) suffer through existential crises (where and how do they fit in MLS?), there have been rumors of another potential return to Colombia for FC Dallas playmaker David Ferreira.

Real Salt Lake are desperately trying to cling to their No. 10 Javier Morales and the New York Red Bulls looked far and wide before landing 37-year-old Brazilian Juninho Pernambucano.

Who's left out there? Columbus have their fingers crossed that a healthy Federico Higuaín can regain his form, while Colorado hope Martín Rivero can actually find his.

Before we get too alarmed, what we may very well be witnessing could just be a transition phase in MLS. A changing of the guard. The slighter, softer Montero's making way for a new breed of modern gamebreakers who are built stronger (see Sporting's Graham Zusi), bigger (see Toronto's Luis Silva), tougher (see Philly's Michael Farfan) and show up every game.

But finding another Farfan is easier said than done. Good luck, Seattle.

10 December 4:40 pm

Depuis la semaine dernière, les journalistes de MLSsoccer.com dressent le bilan de la saison écoulée club par club : entrevues, analyses, perspectives pour 2013 etc. Voici un bref résumé de ce qui a déjà été écrit.

Dernier de classe, Toronto n’a guère souri longtemps après sa demi-finale de Ligue des champions. Ryan Johnson fait partie des rares satisfactions d’un club qui a un gros besoin de renforts. L’équipe dépend beaucoup du rendement de Frings, ce qui n’a rien de rassurant. Paul Mariner souligne aussi la blessure de Koevermans comme tournant de la saison mais a déjà en tête le jeu qu’il veut montrer l’an prochain.

Chivas USA a rêvé jusqu’en août avant de s’effondrer. Une victoire face au LA Galaxy et la solidité de Kennedy ont mis du baume au cœur d’une formation qui a besoin de stabilité. On s’attend cependant à une reconstruction en profondeur cet hiver : pour le meilleur ou pour le pire ?

Portland est passé à côté de la saison de la confirmation, ce qui a entre autres valu le congédiement de l’entraîneur John Spencer. Temporairement à la barre, le directeur général Gavin Wilkinson n’a pu ramener la barque à bon port mais espère au moins avoir préparé le terrain pour 2013. Notamment en posant déjà les balises du 4-3-3 que son successeur, Calen Porter, utilisera l’an prochain.

New England a vécu une saison de transition pour les débuts de Jay Heaps à sa tête. Nguyen, Sene, Bengtson : il y a d’excellents joueurs autour de qui construire, mais l’effectif est encore léger pour jouer dans le haut du tableau. Heaps reconnaît avoir beaucoup appris cette année mais saura-t-il mettre en place un système plus efficace que le jeu direct prôné au cours des derniers mois ?

En début de saison, Philadelphie avait perdu plusieurs de ses valeurs sûres et, sans surprise, n’a pu reproduire ses prestations de 2011. Peter Nowak en a payé les conséquences mais même après son départ, le club a connu de gros passages à vide. Le nouvel entraîneur, John Hackworth, en a toutefois profité pour donner leur chance aux jeunes. C’est un des aspects rassurants pour l’avenir, comme le retour de Le Toux, mais il ne sera pas simple de reconstruire aussi vite qu’on a détruit.

Je recommencerai cet exercice à quelques reprises dans les prochains jours jusqu’à ce que le tour d’horizon de tous les clubs soit terminé. Rendez-vous ici pour retrouver sur la même page un lien vers tous les textes et les dates de parution des prochains bilans.

03 December 8:23 pm

By now you've probably seen "the list," the group of guys available for the third-ever MLS Re-Entry process, which includes Stage One and Stage Two Re-Entry Drafts on Dec. 7 and 14.

Things could certainly change between now and then – guys could opt out of the process, come to new terms with their clubs, be traded to another MLS team or head overseas – but I thought it would be interesting to see what kind of lineup you could pluck from those made available by their clubs.

Without too much in-depth research, below is my Re-Entry XI. Feel free to discuss and share yours in the comment section below.

Goalkeeper: Kevin Hartman

Defense (left to right): Gonzalo Segares, Marvell Wynne, Ike Opara, Jeremy Hall 

Midfield (left to right): Justin Mapp, Julian de Guzman, Tony Tchani, Eric Avila

Forwards: Juan Pablo Ángel, Maicon Santos

28 November 12:42 pm

Suite du classement de la série « Pleine lucarne » avec d’autres réussites de la saison qui s’achève samedi. L’une a été couronnée hier lors de l’attribution du trophée de Retour de l’année à Eddie Johnson. Mais je commence avec deux hommes qui abattent du bon boulot sur tout leur flanc.

6. Chris Tierney et Andy Najar, recul sans frein
Le premier est milieu gauche de formation, le second carrément ailier droit. Et pourtant, leurs clubs respectifs, New England et DC United, leur ont assigné d’importantes tâches défensives. Des reconversions pour le moins réussies ! Si leurs formations encaissent peu de buts construits depuis le côté où ils jouent, Tierney et Najar n’y sont pas pour rien. Ils n’en oublient pas pour autant leurs premières amours et délivrent régulièrement l’une ou l’autre passe décisive.

5. Le retour réussi d’Eddie Johnson
Après quatre années guère prolifiques à l’étranger, Eddie Johnson comptait sur un retour au pays pour relancer sa carrière et a réussi son pari. Cela lui a même valu le trophée de Retour de l’année 2012 ! Il a parfaitement choisi sa destination avec Seattle, où sa complicité avec Mauro Rosales fait merveille. Si Johsnon est le meilleur buteur de la tête de la compétition cette année, il le doit aussi à la qualité des centres de son coéquipier. Ah, si les deux avaient été au sommet de leur forme contre le LA Galaxy, l’affiche de la finale de samedi serait peut-être différente…

Pleine lucarne : les tops de la saison 2012
7. Kenny Cooper a assuré sans Thierry Henry, puis confirmé avec lui
8. Direct dedans
9. Patrice Bernier - Felipe, axe des succès montréalais
10. Jaime Castrillon et Brian Mullan sauvent l’honneur de Colorado 

20 November 8:16 pm

The New England Revolution mean business this offseason.

Jay Heaps' squad has been among the most aggressive this offseason, signing midfielders Andy Dorman and Kalifa Cissé already. And another player may be on his way.

According to Revolution blog The Bent Musket, Honduran international Walter Martínez may be next on the shopping list.

"We received a tip from a colleague on the network, who in turn was tipped by a source he'd like to protect, that Honduran international midfielder/forward Walter Martínez met with Jay Heaps recently to talk transfer," wrote Steve Stoehr.

Wait. A potential third midfielder this early in the offseason? Wasn't the backline supposed to be the club's main priority on the transfer market?

Surely, Heaps and GM Mike Burns are far from done.

20 November 6:45 pm

Matt Reis may not know whether he's sticking around in New England, but he's making the most of his time while he's there.

The veteran goalkeeper, who is waiting to hear whether he's in the Revolution's plans for 2013, got a seat in the Liz Bramwell's kitchen for "The Cooking Show," which is shot at Rustic Kitchen Bistro & Bar in Boston.

Bramwell gets Reis involved as she teaches a crowd how to make gnocchi and the long-time Revs netminder is immersed in the task at hand.

"Come on back here gnocchi," he says at one point. "I can do this all night."

Watch Reis in the video below (minute 11:00 to 16:00) and you might even learn something you can use in your kitchen.

30 October 8:47 pm

The playoffs are upon us, but if that isn't enough to satiate your thirst for soccer, we've got another contest to keep you busy throughout November.

Yes, it's time to select another AT&T Goal of the Year. Just like 2011, 64 of the year's best strikes – including all 31 AT&T Goal of the Week winners – are up for nomination, and a fan vote will whittle the field down all the way down to the year's best strike.

Whose goal are you looking forward to seeing in contention? One of David Beckham's many wonderstrikes? Or perhaps your tastes run more on the Fredy Montero side?

Tune in to MLSsoccer.com tomorrow, Oct. 31 at 1 pm ET, to find out the first 16 goals up for election and cast your vote!

In the meantime, tide yourself over with last year's winner, an absolute stunner from the Portland Timbers' then-rookie, Darlington Nagbe:

30 October 12:16 pm

The San Jose Earthquakes topped the final regular season installment of the MLS Power Rankings on Tuesday, and it was a fitting end to an impressive season for the Quakes. Although they were one the season’s biggest surprises (MLSsoccer.com had them ranked No. 9 at First Kick), the Quakes ascended to the top spot in Week 16 and never really let up.

In fact, the Quakes held the top spot in the Power Rankings for 17 weeks this season (tops among all teams), and led the way for 14 consecutive weeks after reaching the top midway through the season. They relinquished their spot just once - to Sporting Kansas City in Week 30 – but claimed it again the next week and carried the torch each of the final three weeks of the season.

Some other notes on Power Rankings this season:

  • The biggest surprise of the year was easily D.C. United, who came in at No. 16 at the First Kick poll in early March and finished the regular season at No. 3. They also proved to be one of the most volatile teams on the poll this year, rising to No. 2 in Week 15 before plummeting back to No. 12 as late as Week 28 before they surged down the stretch to finish in the top 3.
  • The biggest disappointment was easily the Portland Timbers, who carried the No. 8 ranking into First Kick and effectively slipped into a free fall from there. They bottomed out at No. 19 in Week 19 and ended up holding that spot for a total of seven weeks this season.
  • Toronto FC led the league with most weeks spent at the No. 19 spot – 14.
  • Six teams held the bottom spot at least once this season – Toronto, Portland, Chivas USA, Philadelphia, FC Dallas and Montreal. The Impact held that spot at First Kick but never graced it again after Week 4.
  • Five teams held the No. 1 ranking at some point this season – San Jose, Sporting Kansas City, Real Salt Lake, Seattle and the LA Galaxy. The Galaxy held it at First Kick and never got it back, slipping all the way down to No. 17 in Weeks 11 and 12. The swing of 16 spots is the largest of any team in the rankings this season.
  • The most stable team this season was Sporting Kansas City, who never fell lower than No. 7 and spent a total of seven weeks at No. 1. The Seattle Sounders and Real Salt Lake both bottomed at No. 8 and reached No. 1 at various points in the season.
  • The Houston Dynamo also never fell outside of the top 10 at any point this season, falling as low as No. 9 and rising as high as No. 2 in Week 22.
  • The biggest one-week jump of any team this season belonged to San Jose, who leaped from No. 9 to No. 3 in Week 4 after a 1-0 win in Seattle. The Quakes never fell lower than No. 4 the rest of the way.
  • The biggest one-week drop also came in Week 4. FC Dallas plummeted from No. 6 to No. 15 after a 4-1 loss at D.C. United.
  • The Vancouver Whitecaps are the only playoff team not ranked in the top 10 at the end of the season. They fell to No. 12 in Week 25 and have languished outside the top 10 ever since.
  • Chivas USA was only team to go out the way they came in. They were ranked No. 18 at First Kick and finished No. 18 in the final rankings on Tuesday, having never climbed any higher than No. 12.

Note: There were no rankings for Weeks 13-14 due to international dates.

 

29 August 1:23 pm

Une fois n’est pas coutume, l’émission Coup Franc (à écouter ici) est diffusée le mercredi cette semaine et accueille Olivier Brett en studio. Allongée et enrichie, en voilà le menu :
- Rémi Roy, entraîneur des gardiens de New England, nous parle de la saison actuelle de son club, de la transition en cours, de ses gardiens et des qualités des meilleurs portiers de la compétition.
- Amos Magee, entraîneur adjoint à Portland, se penche sur l’échange Perkins - Ricketts, tente d’expliquer pourquoi son équipe n’a pas confirmé sa bonne première année, évoque ses difficultés en déplacement et la Cascadia Cup qui pourrait sauver la saison.
- Nos deux invités confirment aussi les avantages de parler français en MLS.
- Discussion sur les gardiens : Qui sont les meilleurs en MLS ? Comment les évaluer ? Serait-il opportun d’avoir un joueur désigné à ce poste ?
- Caleb Porter sera-t-il l’homme de la situation à Portland ? Quel est le profil idéal d’un entraîneur en MLS, comment et où le recruter ? Quelles sont les erreurs à ne pas commettre ?
- Débat : Qui de Colombus, Montréal, Houston, Chicago et DC United disputera la phase finale de la saison ? Nous avons analysé le classement et le calendrier de chacune des équipes pour vous faire le portrait le plus clair possible de la situation. Voyez aussi le fameux tableau de Frédéric Lord.
- Kansas City - New York : 1-1, alors que New York n’a pas tiré une seule fois au but !

L'émission Coup Franc est aussi disponible sur Stitcher et iTunes. Vous pouvez nous joindre par courriel (coup.franc@MLSsoccer.com) ou sur Twitter (@CoupFrancMLS).

01 August 2:16 pm

How often do you see a soccer player stick with one team for a decade? Anywhere?

New England's Shalrie Joseph is one of the few standard-bearers left in the league. You think Revs, you think Shalrie and the dreads.

So should the Revs retire his number? Should they retire it while he's still active? Should they give it to other players to wear?

Vote here.