The New England Revolution have bolstered their depth with trades for a pair of MLS vets in Kekuta Manneh and Tommy McNamara, and speaking with reporters on a Tuesday video call, head coach Bruce Arena didn't rule out the possibility of more moves to come.
When it comes to the rationale for the trades, Arena said it made sense for the club to target a pair of players who are known commodities within the league, given the hurdles involved with acquiring international players during the COVID-19 pandemic. Manneh arrives to the club from FC Cincinnati, and has been in the league since 2013, when he was once a highly-touted young prospect with the Vancouver Whitecaps. While he's never fully broken out, Manneh is still just 25 and has 30 MLS goals and 18 assists to his name in 149 appearances.
"Obviously the MLS player, especially during a pandemic with all our league rules, makes it much easier to add those players to your roster and get them on the field. If you bring in an international player right now, there's a lot of issues you've got to deal with," Arena said. "Secondly, just time of the year. It would be, in my particular opinion, not a smart move to bring in an international player because of the adjustments they have to make, and we're in a short season and all of that. I think that's something we'll do in the offseason, not right now. I don't think it's a compatible exercise at this point in time under the conditions we're working today.
"Anytime you have an opportunity to make your team better you want to consider that," he added. "We're not very active in doing anything at the moment, but the transfer window is open for a while. I don't know when it closes now, things have changed so much, I'm not certain, but I wouldn't rule out anything. There's a possibility there could be other moves."
They were also moves borne out of necessity, Arena said, given how injuries left the Revs' roster a bit shorthanded. Most notably, star attacker Carles Gil suffered an Achilles injury that is expected to keep him sidelined for most, if not all, of the remainder of 2020.
"That's all part of it," Arena said. "We had a 19-man roster prior to this trade with [Luis] Caicedo and Gil out. So we had 17 senior roster players, of which two were goalkeepers, so we were down to 15 senior roster field players. So, it was important that we added players to that and we did that with those two, and obviously we lost [Wilfried] Zahibo [in the McNamara trade]. We know we're not going to be replacing like-for-like with Carles. That's not, in my view, even possible. But we certainly we needed to strengthen ourselves in the attacking half of the field, so certainly you could say the loss of Carles had something to do with it as well."
For his part, McNamara said he's looking at the change in scenery as an opportunity to hit the reset button. The midfielder became something of a cult hero during his time with NYCFC, putting up a five-goal, nine-assist season in 2016, but hasn't topped those statistics since.
The veteran said he's looking forward to the opportunity to play under Arena, who he believes understands the optimal way to use his skill set in a way that will help him recapture some of that magic.
"I think the good thing about coming here is I believe the coach understands me as a player and he understands his players he has at his disposal and allows them to be put in to spots that can best suit their qualities," McNamara said. "And so I think that's something I'm really looking forward to and I think that I need to be able to play in positions and be able to be asked to do things that suit my qualities."