There was so very much for New England Revolution fans to be excited about this year. Finally!
Youngsters like Kelyn Rowe and Scott Caldwell have quietly become two solid MLS starters. (Well, Rowe made some noise here and there, but Caldwell’s development really has come on the down-low.)
Right back Andrew Farrell seemed set for a nice sophomore season under manager Jay Heaps, a young manager now into his third year on the job, surely learning new ways to improve himself and the team every single day.
Lee Nguyen remains a dependable attacker, although he still needs a front-line striker to feed. And it’s all built around defensive centerpiece Jose Goncalves, the reigning MLS Defender of the Year, among the top league revelations of 2013, someone coming back to police the back line at Gillette once again.
Uh-oh. Seems that Goncalves isn’t quite ready to commit to a second year for the Revs. And that is some terribly disquieting news for Revolution fans.
Goncalves seems to feel less than fully loved around Gillette. The Revs say they love him dearly – while reminding us that he’s under contract. This is either a negotiating kerfuffle that will be stitched up quickly … or it’s a big ol’ mess.
A few things seem clear:
- There is some talking out to be done between these parties.
- This conversation will evolve into the next pressure point as MLS supporters boo-hoo the salary cap and its restrictive implications. The counterweight is, as it always has been: without a salary cap, the league probably would already have died. That’s always the larger context for these conversations, although fans hate to hear that.
- If this is just negotiating tactic for Goncalves, it’s hard not to connect some dots here and think that Major League Soccer made a major mistake in not playing hardball with Vancouver striker Camilo, who forced a move with his recent gambit.
- All of this is complicated by the fact that Goncalves’ was originally a loan player (from Swiss side FC Sion) who played so well that the loaner turned into a purchase. See Kyle McCarthy’s good work via Twitter for more on that.
- Fairly or not in this case, this will be filed in plenty of minds alongside other evidence that the Kraft family doesn’t like to spend money on its MLS team.
Oh, and there’s this: The New England Revolution is a playoff contender with Goncalves in the lineup, especially if they secure that striker. Without him … probably not.