Revolution bring Khano Smith back, ink Serbian midfielder
In its quest for additional creativity in the final third, New
England may have found its answer.
FC Basel midfielder Marko Perovic has signed for the
Revolution on a free transfer and will join the team once his P1 work visa is
approved, the club announced on Friday afternoon.
Perovic, 26, is a former Serbian youth international with
extensive European experience with the former Swiss champions and Red Star
Belgrade. After falling out of favor with Basel manager Thorsten Fink earlier
in the campaign, Perovic secured permission from Fink to join New England on
trial while the team trained in North Carolina.
Although the Revolution registered an interest in Perovic once
he left training camp last week, New England had to wait for the Serbian midfielder
to settle up his remaining contract with FC Basel—a deal that ran until the
summer of 2011—before MLS and the Revs could secure his signature.
“We're always looking to upgrade anywhere we can with any
chance we can,” Revolution coach Steve Nicol told MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday
before Perovic sealed a deal to join the team. “I think some of the ability he
has, we don't have elsewhere in the team, so it's good to get a guy with just a
little bit of extra quality.”
Nicol said Perovic, generally deployed as a left-sided
midfielder with Basel, could play wide on the left or as an attacking
midfielder located just behind the front two. No matter where Perovic
eventually lines up for the Revs, the Serbian has what it takes to inject a
healthy dose of creativity into the New England attack, according to Nicol.
“It's about going forward with the ball,” Nicol said. “He's
got experience, he's confident and he likes to go at people. We can play him
wide on the left or we can play him off the front two. Generally, he's just a
good football player.”
New England also announced the acquisition of former
midfielder Khano Smith on Friday. Smith, 29, left the Revolution in 2008 after
he was selected by Seattle in the expansion draft. The Sounders subsequently
traded him to New York, where he lasted only half a season before being released.
Smith signed a short-term deal with English League Two side Lincoln City in
October, but left when his deal expired in early January.
Smith linked up with his former club during training camp and
impressed enough to prompt the Revs to offer him a deal to provide cover and
experience in midfield. As a veteran with more than three years of MLS
experience, Smith will have a guaranteed contract for 2010.
In addition to signing Perovic and Smith, New England waived
Costa Rican defender Gabriel Badilla. Badilla, 25, made just six MLS
appearances for the Revs during his two years with the club, but did not play
in a league match during the 2009 season after struggling to overcome a back injury.