FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – When the MLS secondary transfer window opens on July 10, expect the New England Revolution to be active.
Michael Burns, their general manager, told MLSsoccer.com that the club has offers out to “several players,” with targets including TAM-level players and those of an international and domestic background. The genesis behind that approach, Burns said before the Revs’ 3-2 loss to the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday night, is that being “5-8-5 isn’t good enough.”
“We’re also looking for guys right now who can come in and start or seriously compete for starting spots out of the gate,” Burns said in the media workroom of Gillette Stadium. “We’re not looking for all guys at 18 or 19 [years old]. We’re looking to add some guys who can come in and make a difference now.”
This methodology has been in the works, with Burns telling MLSsoccer.com back in February that the Revs would take a wait-and-see approach, leaving their options open come summertime. With July here, Burns said reinforcements are necessary, as the Revs boast salary cap space and have just 24 of 30 possible players rostered.
Plus, the Revs have won 20 points from 19 games, placing them 10th place in the Eastern Conference heading into the Gold Cup break. In addition, the Revs are 5-2-2 at home and 0-7-3 on the road, necessitating roster improvements.
“I want to preface this by saying it without it sounding like we’ve given up on this group, because we haven’t,” Burns said. “There’s certainly a feeling of underachievement thus far this year. I think that our inability to win on the road thus far this season has really put an enormous amount of pressure on us at home. Our home record is very respectable. The fact that we haven’t won a game on the road magnifies every game we play at home.”
One avenue that could arise is the MLS Allocation Ranking, as the Revs, after completing a trade with the San Jose Earthquakes on Monday, now hold the second spot, only behind Columbus Crew SC. Heading San Jose’s way was the Allocation Ranking’s fifth spot and $175,000 of General Allocation Money, which Burns said the Revs will entirely recoup come January.
“I don’t want to be misleading to folks or fans to have them think that just because we moved to two that a player signing is imminent through the allocation ranking,” Burns said. “However, we feel that the deal made so much sense for us that it would have been shortsighted on our part had we not done the deal. It frankly puts us in a much better position should a player or two come back through the Allocation Ranking.”
Burns wouldn’t go into specific players they’ve sent offers to or what positions they play, but he did shed some light on the current roster, again stressing that he’s “disappointed [with] where we’re sitting currently in the standings.”
One player he commented on was Kei Kamara, who the Revs acquired via trade with Columbus on May 12, 2016. Since then, the striker has bagged 11 goals in 37 games with New England, and Burns maintained faith that the Kamara of old will come around.
“I think when you have center forwards that are scoring and are full of confidence and the team is winning, that snowballs,” Burns said.
“Once he gets a couple goals under his belt, I think the floodgates will open and he’ll score more goals on a regular basis. He’s proven in this league that he can score goals and frankly we need him to score goals for us to be the team we want to be. We don’t doubt that that can happen.”
Burns also pointed to Juan Agudelo as someone who could help turn the Revs’ fortunes around, saying he believes the 24-year-old will return from the Gold Cup rearing to go. And lastly, he noted that Chris Tierney’s shift from staple in the starting XI to spot starter and super sub is the natural progression of Father Time.
But the topic still loomed large: Burns knows the Revs need additions if they want to become a playoff team. They missed the playoffs in 2016, and, led by head coach Jay Heaps, at this stage they’re on track to do so again this year.
“We still believe in the group that we have, but we’re not doing our jobs if we’re not trying to add guys as well to make our team better,” Burns said. “That’s what we’re trying to do.”