Looking for positives for the Revolution, Breakers
August 17th, 2011
If we judged the two division one professional teams in New England, the Revolution and Breakers, solely on the present, the judgement would be harsh. Neither organization is living up to their potential, on the field or off. In the case of the Revolution, one wonders what it will take to reinvigorate a franchise that was a perennial MLS Cup contender just a few years ago. As for the Breakers, one wonders if there is any future at all.
Searching for nice and positive things to say right now is almost an excercise in futility. The Revolution are an inept 4-11-9 with 10 games left in the regular season. Barring something along the lines of a 10-game win streak, which the team has shown no reason to believe will happen, they will likely miss the playoffs for the second straight year - even with an expanded playoff structure that allows for 10 teams to reach postseason play.
The women's side has been little better in 2011, squeaking into the playoffs with a 5-9-4 record. Oh, how joyous it must be for WPS to have a totally unworthy playoff team reach the postseason thanks to four out of six teams allowed into the fray. It should be a short trip into the playoffs for Boston, as they face a MagicJack side that has beaten Boston three of the four times they faced each other this season. A miraculous run to the WPS championship would be nice, but don't bet your house on it.
So what is there to look forward to? In the case of the Revs, it is probably too much to ask for a single year turnaround and return to contender status. But every cloud is said to have a silver lining, and the silver lining is this: the Revolution product has almost certainly sank as low as it can go. This season will be remembered for the debut of Diego Fagundez and nothing else. The team is terrible. The attendance is laughable. Say what you will about Bob Kraft and his purported lack of love for or interest in soccer (and you can say a lot), but it is doubtful that he is unaware of just how far the once mighty Revs have fallen. It would be absolutely shocking if all or some of the leading Revs brass, including COO Brian Bilello, VP of Player Personnel Mike Burns and head coach Steve Nicol, weren't fired - perhaps even before the end of the season. It remains to be seen if the organization can bring in anyone better suited to do the job, but things really can't get much worse than they already are. No single player personnel move will solve the Revs on-field problems, but it would seem that massive changes in the office and on the pitch are inevitable. That is a good thing.
The Breakers are another story entirely. There is legitimate reason to believe WPS may not survive another offseason. Think about it: only two of the current WPS teams, the Breakers and Sky Blue, have survived for all three WPS seasons. The defunct WUSA only lasted three seasons before going to its grave. For the entire season, the average attendance for WPS is down. But, as with the Revs, there is reason for hope. Attendance went up dramatically after the World Cup. The Breakers went from just around 3,700 fans a game to more than 5,000. On the field, a few tweaks here and there are all that is needed to improve quality and consistency. The organization is looking for a new majority owner, and there is some hope that the World Cup bounce will provide an infusion of cash from investors and sponsors that will allow the league to expand into 2012.
Sure, we're grasping at straws a little here. But we have to believe next year can be better for our local pros because, well, what else are we going to do? Here's hoping they can put 2011 behind them and turn things around in 2012.
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