The following story was published in the Revolution’s “Match Day” program for the Oct. 16 home finale against the Kansas City Wizards
There is no question that the 2010 Revolution season did not turn out as planned.
Between the lack of postseason qualification, an early exit in the U.S. Open Cup and falling in the final of SuperLiga 2010, the Revs came away with little more than experience this season. For a club whose primary goal is to win MLS Cup each year, being eliminated from playoff contention in September was painful.
Revolution head coach Steve Nicol is not the type of person to make excuses.
The 48-year-old Scot just shakes his head when asked about the 2010 season. With a litany of possible excuses to draw from, Nicol gives a simple response about what happened in 2010: “We just weren’t good enough. We made some silly mistakes that really cost us in a lot of games.”
Between the number of times the team either went down a goal very early in the game, or surrendered a goal very late in the game, leaving points on the field, the Revs made their fair share of mistakes.
Sure, injuries were also a big part of the season.
With the club’s all-time goal-scoring leader on track for a triumphant return to the field from head and neck injuries this year, Taylor Twellman’s season was derailed in May after a debilitating set-back in his recovery. Then former Champions League winnerEdgaras Jankauskas, targeted to start up top alongside Twellman once he returned, saw only 147 minutes of action and suffered a series of on-going injuries.
Add to that the off-season surgeries that kept All-Star goalkeeper Matt Reis off the field until almost July, and on-going concerns with several other players, but Nicol is still loathe to use those as excuses. The Revs just didn’t live up to their own – or the fans’ – heightened expectations.
Instead of dwelling on the negatives, however, Nicol points to some of the positives. First, with such a youthful squad, many players who normally would not have received much time on the field played vital parts on the team. Players like rookie forward Zack Schilawski, who was drafted in January with the idea of grooming him this season under experienced forwards in Twellman and Jankauskas. Instead, the 23-year-old was thrust into the opening day starting lineup.
Marko Perovic – the season’s MVP as voted by the fans – is another positive. The 26-year-old Serb first trained with the team during preseason, and officially joined the team in April when his signing was finalized. With eight goals and four assists in all competitions, Perovic added a boost to the team when it was needed most.
Nicol also looks to how the team played at the end of the season. While some teams may pack it in and go through the motions after being eliminated from postseason contention, the Revs hunkered down and had a renewed energy and spark.
Nicol is preparing for a busy off-season of scouting around the world, adding to his roster and attempting to build a team that will not only return to the playoffs, but contend for a Supporters Shield and an MLS Cup trophy.
But there are no excuses to be had for 2010. Just answers expected in 2011 and beyond.