From a fantasy perspective, things may be looking up for the New England Revolution. New coach Jay Heaps is more of a risk-taker than his predecessor, meaning the Revs could see their goal totals go up in the 2012 season.
We catch up with Kyle McCarthy of MLSsoccer.com, Goal.com and the Boston Herald (@kylejmccarthy) for his thoughts on the fortunes of Saer Sene, Kelyn Rowe and Shalrie Joseph in MLS Fantasy Soccer: Manager.
Fantasy Spotlight: What's your early take on Saer Sene? Do you think he can be a capable finisher at the MLS level?
Kyle McCarthy: I think you have to take what Sene has done with a grain of salt. He’s scored two goals, but he hasn’t had a chance to play with his preferred partner yet in José Moreno. I think when Moreno gets on the field, he occupies more of that target role. You’ll see Sene be more dangerous trying to get in behind and use his pace. For the moment, for me he’s just a little bit of an uncertainty going forward on what he can contribute from a fantasy standpoint.
Top 5 Revs
FS: What’s the timeline for Moreno getting back on the field?
McCarthy: Moreno came off the bench last Thursday in the 1-0 defeat at FC Dallas and gave them 11 minutes. He’s a guy with a big shot and who can hold the ball up, but the big question with him is his fitness. They’ve been careful trying to move him along. I’m expecting him to get his first start in the next couple of weeks.
FS: Kelyn Rowe had a lot of fantasy buzz early in the season due to his relatively low price in FS:M. How has he fared in 2012?
McCarthy: He’s settled into the MLS level well, I think, and he’s gotten the goal in LA to give fantasy owners some tangible production. When you look at a guy with his price and with the type of constant production he’s giving in terms of minutes and help setting up goals, he’s a guy who provides some decent value for his owners.
WATCH: Rowe knocks in rebound against LA
FS: Is Rowe going to be starting and playing 90 minutes for the foreseeable future?
McCarthy: The question is, how will Jay Heaps revamp the midfield when Benny Feilhaber eventually comes back? You’ve got Kelyn Rowe, Lee Nguyen and Feilhaber; that really leaves two midfield spots for those three players. For now, Rowe looks like he’s going to get 90 minutes week-in, week-out.
FS: Have Shalrie Joseph's ($9.4m, 17 points) days as a goal-scorer come and gone?
McCarthy: For Shalrie, in past seasons he has had to be a jack-of-all-trades — providing support at the base of midfield, but also getting forward to provide some goals. He’s filled in as a target forward at times in the past couple of seasons; I think those days are gone.
I think with Heaps coming in, he’s pushed Shalrie back more and started that partnership with Clyde Simms right in front of the defense. From that standpoint, he’s not going to contribute as much offensively as he has in the past. One thing to note, though: he’s always a threat on set pieces.
FS: Finally, if you had to characterize Jay Heaps' "style" as a manager, what would it be and does that have any fantasy implications?
McCarthy: The good news for fantasy owners is that Jay Heaps wants his side to attack. He pushes his fullbacks higher than the Revs have done in the past and he’s willing to gamble with the lineup to get more offense on the field. In Dallas on Thursday, he swapped out Simms, a holding midfielder, for Moreno, a forward, in the late stages of the game to push for all three points.
That sort of a direct approach can pay benefits for people who own Revolution players because you know the Revs are going to push forward a little bit more and score more goals than they have in the past couple seasons.