ExtraTime Radio Podcast
LISTEN: With the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs still on a break and Andrew Wiebe welcoming Cameron Russell into the world (congrats!), the ExtraTime Radio crew spends some time talking to new Revolution head coach Brad Friedel to understand his philosophy heading into his first professional coaching gig, and previewing the young USMNT squads matchup in Portugal (3:45 pm ET; FS1, Univision, UniMás). Subscribe so you never miss a show! Download this episode!
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – A common thread emerged from Brad Friedel’s introductory press conference on Monday morning: It’s too soon to discuss, at least publicly, which path he wants to send the New England Revolution down.
Friedel, who’s now the seventh coach in Revs’ history, did tip his hand somewhat in one regard, though. Most notably, he said New England’s not in need of drastic roster turnover.
“I think with most teams in MLS in general, if you get everyone working together and focused to do what you want to do and you get a good team camaraderie in the changing room, you can get a lot of results,” Friedel said. “This is not a team that’s in disarray, that’s for sure. I think there needs to be little tweaks to it, and then my staff and I need to go in and try to mold the team and get the confidence back.”
Confidence was the key word from Friedel there, especially after the Revs experienced an up-and-down 2017 campaign. They won one road game all season long, missed the playoffs for a second year running and several high-priced players – notably striker Kei Kamara and holding midfielder Xavier Kouassi – are entering option years.
But Friedel hinted that his first order of business could be shoring up New England’s backline, one that allowed the most goals in 2017 in the Eastern Conference. That came after the Revs, in the last 18 months, have signed goalkeeper Cody Cropper, signed center back Claude Dielna as a Designated Player and used Targeted Allocation Money to sign center backs Antonio Delamea and Benjamin Angoua.
“I think you can look at stats, and stats don’t lie,” Friedel said. “Over 60 goals conceded is too much. That’s something we’ll need to address. We know what we need to address, and we’ll work very hard to address those issues.”
Friedel assured that focus isn’t a byproduct of his own playing days, where he was a goalkeeper in the Premier League for 17 seasons and was on three US World Cup rosters from 1994 to 2002. He also holds the Premier League record for most consecutive appearances (310), and coached with Tottenham's academy and the US U-19 men's side.
Rather, he wants the Revs to play a committed, disciplined style interspersed with some attacking flair. With the latter part, the Revs have the potential for just that with players such as Kelyn Rowe, Diego Fagundez, Lee Nguyen and Juan Agudelo.
But when it came to commenting on specific players or tactics, Friedel opted for a bigger-picture approach.
“We’re out there to get a winning mentality inside the club, and the X’s and O’s side of it as games come, I’ll be more than happy to share with you,” Friedel said. “That’s not for the first press conference. But you will be seeing, hopefully, a very good team-oriented, hard-working team on the field with some flair. Just because I’m a goalkeeper, it doesn’t mean I don’t want to see technically gifted players. My staff knows this and hopefully we’ll be able to put that in front of the fans.”