After securing reinforcements in central midfield and central defense, the New England Revolution has shifted their sights toward reinforcing their fullback options ahead of the start of training camp.
General manager Michael Burns said the club plans to add another defender after signing center back José Gonçalves on loan from Swiss side FC Sion last week. Gonçalves' arrival, however, will not solve the shortage of natural choices on either side of the back four.
“We'd like to get a little more cover and competition for our outside back spots as well,” Burns told MLSsoccer.com by phone. “It's an area where we thought we were thin last year with only having Kevin [Alston], Chris [Tierney] and Tyler [Polak]. And with Chris, you could make an argument that he could play in midfield instead of as an outside back.”
The dearth of fullback possibilities left Revolution coach Jay Heaps to paper over the cracks as best he could. Alston and Tierney shouldered most of the load, while other players such as Darrius Barnes and Ryan Guy slotted into those spots in a pinch. It isn't a situation the Revs want to continue in 2013, according to Burns.
“Darrius [Barnes] has had to play [fullback] at times,” Burns said. “Ryan Guy has had to play right back at times. That's not their natural position. Kevin even switched over to the left at times. That's an area we're trying to address.”
Former Colorado defender Hunter Freeman (above) looms as one potentially neat solution to the issue. New England plucked him away from the Rapids through the Re-Entry process in an attempt to acquire an option capable of playing on both sides, but the two sides have yet to agree to terms on a deal for next season.
“At this time, we haven't reached an agreement with Hunter,” Burns said. “We hope that will change and we'll be able to get something done with him. It's the same thing with Chad [Barrett] as well. We hope both of them will sign, but, at some point if both of them decide not to play here, we'll have to look in a different direction.”