As Adam wrote earlier in the week, things are looking pretty grim for the Revolution right now. And while it may, in fact, be time to punt this season and start looking toward next year, I’d like to propose four things the Revs could do right now to salvage their 2010 campaign:
1) Become this year’s FC Dallas. Last season, the Hoops started 1-6-1, and were floundering near the bottom of both the Western Conference and overall league tables. The team didn’t win consecutive games until August. But then, Jeff Cunningham went on a tear, the midfield found its stride, and the defense tightened up just enough to leave FCD in control of its own destiny going into the season’s final fixture. While the team ultimately failed to make the playoffs, it did make everyone’s list of teams to watch in 2010 (a mantle they’ve worn admirably so far this year). A similar end to the Revs season would be reason to believe good things might be in store for 2011.
How it saves the season: This should be self-explanatory, but a return to the playoff chase — even if the club fails to make the playoffs — would bring some excitement and winning soccer back to Foxborough, which is always a good thing, regardless of the standings.
Chances it actually happens: 10 %. This may actually be a generous estimate considering how bad the team have looked lately. Still, I’d say it’s not impossible, especially if Steve Nicol is able to find a consistent lineup.
2) Win SuperLiga. The Revs have a history of success in this competition. They won the whole thing in 2008, and followed that up by finishing top of their group in 2009 before losing to Chicago in the semifinals. Perhaps more importantly, the team has never lost a game or even a point to a Mexican opponent in SuperLiga (they’re a perfect 5-0-0). No other MLS side can claim such an impressive record. Of course, none of that translates to success in this year’s edition, but it should give the team confidence going into its opening match against Pumas UNAM on July 14.
How it saves the season: I’m of the opinion that no season in which your team earns a trophy can be declared a failure. It could be considered disappointing, perhaps, especially if expectations were high, but I don’t think the 2010 Revs fit that category. A win in SuperLiga would be a welcome bright spot in an otherwise dark season.
Chances it actually happens: 30 %. Maybe this seems high, but how many times in soccer have we seen a team that’s struggling in league play suddenly make a run in cup competition? Given their track record in SuperLiga, the Revs could be one of those teams.
3) Sign a Designated Player. With America’s soccer-awareness surging as it does during every World Cup, now is the perfect time for MLS teams to grab headlines by signing World Cup players. Of course, such signings are easier said than done, but the Designated Player rule is designed to improve the chances of such players landing in MLS. The Revs have two open slots that they could try to fill with an aging Portuguese-speaking player like Deco or Ze Roberto. They could even throw a ton of money at a recognizable American player (Clint Dempsey would get a hero’s welcome if he returned to Foxborough).
How it saves the season: The right DP signing provides an instant surge in the interest and excitement surrounding a team. It also improves the quality of the on-field product. Both would be welcome for the Revolution right now.
Chances it actually happens: 3 %. The Revs’ front office has said repeatedly that they’d like to sign a designated player if the situation is right (including on the team’s official blog Tuesday). Unfortunately, as the comments on that post make abundantly clear, they’ve given absolutely no indication that they intend to follow through any time soon.
4) Finalize plans for a soccer-specific stadium. I know I said it wasn’t essential just a couple of weeks ago, and I stand by that assessment. But there’s a difference between what’s necessary and what would generate excitement for a team that’s currently going nowhere. An announcement of specific plans for a SSS (with a building-site, a timetable, and some renderings) falls into the latter category. One need only look to the Revs closest geographic rival, the New York Red Bulls, for evidence of a new stadium’s ability to turn around the fortunes of a bad team.
How it saves the season: If nothing else, it would be some positive news, something for fans to look forward to. Even if this season never amounted to anything on the field, 2010 would be remembered as the year the ball finally began rolling on a new stadium.
Chances it actually happens: 5%. It’s more likely than a DP only because of the MBTA’s recent decision to move forward with its plans for a maintenance facility in Somerville. On June 28, Revs COO Brian Bilello said the team has re-launched its exploration of the site, but that doesn’t guarantee anything will happen soon, if ever.