FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Searching for depth in midfield after the departure of Cassio and Felix Brillant, the New England Revolution are close to acquiring former MetroStars midfielder Gilberto Flores.
The proposed deal would send a fourth-round supplemental draft pick in 2006 to the Metrostars in exchange for Flores, with only the final paperwork holding up the deal.
Flores has been in New England since late last week, arriving on Thursday. He remains in the Boston area while waiting for clearance from the league office. Because the move is not yet final, Flores has not practiced with the squad since his arrival.
The talented midfielder burst onto the scene last season. Composed performances in midfield distinguished him as a key man in the crowded MetroStars midfield.
An unfortunate tackle last June at the hands of Revolution midfielder Clint Dempsey tore the posterior tibial tendon in his left ankle. Flores missed three months and never regained the form when he returned in September.
"The injury was not intentional," said Flores. "It's destiny that I ended up here."
"He can play," said Nicol. "He was injured last year against us, but before that, he was doing as well as anyone for the MetroStars. After the injury, things haven't worked out for him there. We'll try to give him a change of venue. We know he can pass, and you can never have enough guys that can pass."
Flores acknowledges that times were difficult with the MetroStars in the past few months as he struggled to make an impact.
"I had some problems with the MetroStars," said Flores. "It has been difficult to come back after the injury and I didn't like the turf. I am really content [to join New England]."
Flores represents a low-risk, high-reward gambit for the Revolution. With the release of Cassio and Brillant, the Revolution count only 16 players against the 18-man roster. Even with the addition of Flores, the Revs would have a roster spot and decent cap flexibility to add another player later in the season.
In Flores, the Revolution will acquire a proven MLS-caliber player who could provide important depth for the Eastern Conference leaders as the season progresses.
"We're not interested in what people say," said Nicol. "We know he can play. The MetroStars didn't let him go because he was knocking walls down. We want to get him back to where he was."
Kyle McCarthy is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.