Dearest Robert, Jonathan, Brian, and Michael,
Hi there, Sean Sweeney here, your favorite new thorn in your side. Hey, I know you guys were in attendance Saturday night — one of the gals who graduated from Fitchburg High a few years ahead of me posted a pic on her Facebook of you, Robert, on the sidelines pre-match — but I wanted to let you know what I saw when your soccer team defecated the linens against the LA Galaxy.
I saw 36,573 fans in the stands go home rather unhappy. Some were rather numb to what they saw, having not been to a soccer game in person; meanwhile, those who are your loyal customers and attend week after week were numb with overflowing anger. They’ve read this script before, you four, and I’ll be honest when I say that I’m surprised they haven’t already canceled their season tickets.
So I’ll come out and ask you point blank: when in the hell are the reinforcements coming? Sure, the transfer window has been open for five days, and these things take time. But that result should have never happened had the defenders you’ve acquired the last two seasons actually know not to stop playing in second-half stoppage time.
Newsflash: Your team was just not good enough, and hasn’t been for a while. Not to Boston sports standards, at any rate.
Four points out of a possible nine in three consecutive home matches in a league where home teams usually have an advantage? Dropped points (14) in six home matches this season? Barely getting by DC United and Toronto, coughing away leads to Vancouver and San Jose, not being creative enough against Seattle, and then the epic choke job of Saturday to Los Angeles — and you four should know that Boston fans don’t like losing to Los Angeles teams. In no certain terms should you be satisfied with 36,573 fans walking through your doors. I’m sure your concessions people went home happy, given the extra number of bodies that needed sustenance of the solid and liquid varieties.
And sure, the never-say-die attitude and the general grinding toward the end of matches is great; I’ve never seen the offense move so fluidly before, and I’ve never seen the Revolution play for a manager the way they do for Brad Friedel. It was a smart hire. I will praise that. I praised Juan Agudelo and Luis Caicedo. I could have added Diego Fagundez and Andrew Farrell — but second-half stoppage time happened, and the narrative simply fell apart. This is a results-based business, as Friedel acknowledged in his post-match presser. They didn’t get the result, coughed it away in impressive fashion, and so the negatives out-weighed the positives.
Quite plainly, gentlemen, you four need to realize that this team isn’t good enough to win a championship as demanded by your lifelong supporters, the supporters to whom you promised accountability toward on a sunny December Sunday afternoon in Carson four years ago. Not in its current state at any rate, and especially not with this defensive unit.
Here. Read this piece I wrote last week about what your needs are headed into the currently-ongoing Secondary Transfer Window. You may think otherwise, but please do everyone who gives a damn about your soccer team a favor and look at it. This is truly what New England needs to succeed. Right now, don’t even look beyond the first entry. Seriously, I have no problem with not having another goal scorer right now — hell, Caicedo scored a goal Saturday — but that defense, guys … that defense is crap. It is shambolic. Horrendous. That defense needs to be upgraded to brick wall levels, because several of the gents in the back simply stopped playing Saturday night. 90 seconds in second-half stoppage time spoiled an otherwise brilliant defensive performance for 90 minutes.
I want you to close your eyes and think about that crowd. Over 36,000 walking through the gates of The House That Brady Built. Over 36,000 chanting REH-VO-LOO-SHUN. Over 36,000 — the largest crowd that has been at Gillette since the last match of the ’17 season, and the third highest since ’15 — some of whom were watching professional soccer in person for the first time in their lives. That can happen again.
Will they come back? I’m not sure. They probably won’t if they figure that’s how your team is going to play in a league where every point matters. Were most of them there for Zlatan Ibrahimovic (even though we noted earlier in the week that there was a good chance he wasn’t going to play, given your playing surface; and for the record, Zlatan? You’re paid to play a kid’s game. Make the goddamn trip, play on the goddamn turf... if Ca$hley Cole of England, formerly of Arsenal and Chelsea, can do it, you can, too)? Oh, most definitely. And that should show you that people will pay to watch European stars.
Which brings me back to the Secondary Transfer Window.
You have an extra $700,000 split between GAM and TAM thanks to the Lee Nguyen transfer back on May 1; Friedel told me in April there is room in the budget for additional transfers and salaries. Seriously, guys: The time has come. The make or break time. You’re not going to have another opportunity. The World Cup is done, and the next time it comes around is during the Major League Soccer offseason… no, I’m not bitter about that. It’s time to show you actually give a darn about Revolution supporters because, let me tell you, there is a mutiny brewing. They are tired of not winning, of you not putting a quality product worthy to be mentioned alongside the ‘04/’07/’13/’18 Red Sox, or the Celtics, Bruins, or Patriots on the field.
The time has come.
It’s your move. Make the right move, put a winning side that eats teams for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, doesn’t choke away leads, and the turnstiles will churn away — yes, even in the cold weather. You’re a few pieces away from being relevant.
Don’t screw this up, or else we’ll be talking again real soon.
A reporter/columnist who likes writing about winners