FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – When MLS informed teams a couple months ago that young American forward Tony Taylor was engaged in contract discussions with the league and could soon be available via weighted lottery, it piqued the interest of the New England Revolution.
Current Revolution assistant coach Tom Soehn had seen Taylor play during a scouting trip to Portugal – back when Soehn was part of the Vancouver Whitecaps front office – and gave his endorsement. Head coach Jay Heaps had himself followed Taylor’s progression through the U.S. National Team system, first with the Under-20 team and then the Under-23 squad during qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games.
New England confirmed its interest by participating in the lottery for Taylor on Monday – along with the Portland Timbers, coached by Taylor’s U.S. U23 coach, Caleb Porter – and the Revs won, acquiring the 25-year-old attacker ahead of the 2014 stretch run.
“We’re excited,” Heaps said before training on Wednesday. “A couple months ago it was circulated that he was engaging in conversations with the league, so when it was finalized, I think we were one of the first teams to put in for it. We were fortunate enough to get him in that lottery.”
Taylor was scheduled to arrive in Foxborough on Wednesday and could be on the training field with his new teammates as early as Thursday. Heaps acknowledged that there’s always a feeling-out period between a new player and club, but New England’s head coach already has an idea where he thinks Taylor fits within the framework of the Revolution’s attacking system.
“I see him probably in a wider position as another forward, or as a second striker right underneath a target striker,” Heaps said. “His versatility and his speed are top notch for us. He gets here [on Wednesday] and we’ll spend some time on the training ground with him.”
Taylor is the second young American forward to join the Revolution in the past week following last Tuesday’s acquisition of 26-year-old striker Andre Akpan. Heaps said Taylor and Akpan bring different skill-sets to the position, while adding that the Revs will continue to search for reinforcements leading up to the roster freeze deadline of September 15.
“We’re adding young players and we’re adding to our team,” Heaps said. “But at the same time, we’re looking to continue to add, as well.”