This is the sixth part of a series in which we introduce Orlando City fans to the teams our Lions will be facing in 2015 when the team starts play in Major League Soccer. Today we take a look at the New England Revolution.
What are the three most important things Orlando City fans need to know about the Revs?
Steve Stoehr: First of all you have to understand that this fanbase is defensive. We know we’ve been largely left behind by MLS, and that our owners look like (and maybe are, depending on who you ask) the least-interested and least-invested owners in the league, but we hate to be reminded of it. Most of us drive at least an hour and brave horrific traffic just to congregate in the armpit of nowhere to watch home games, and we won’t have our commitment and our club denigrated, not with all that we put into it.
Secondly, this is a young team, and that shows in both good and bad ways. Even with the veteran leadership of guys like Jermaine Jones, Jose Goncalves, and Andy Dorman, Jay Heaps still routinely runs out one of the youngest lineups around. That means that the Revs have players who perform with no fear; they’re offense-minded, crafty, unpredictable, and dangerous. They can be absolutely impossible to hang with. On the other hand, they’re young, and in the mental aspect of the game, that can be detrimental. They lose focus, they occasionally respond poorly to adversity, and they put themselves in poor situations, even in games where they should lock down a win. It also makes them streaky, which you can see just from the results map of this season.
Third, no championships does not equal no history. This is a team with rich history. In the 2000s, the Revs were the model franchise. They had long-time legends and league-bests all over the pitch and in the technical area, and it would be quite fair to say that the fans feel cursed. That curse isn’t just due to four MLS Cup Final losses, but also due to the misfortunes suffered by players. Taylor Twellman was the most incredible and prolific scorer MLS had ever seen; his career was cut short by concussions, and what’s worse, his constant and eventually unsuccessful bid to get healthy again cost the Revs the chance to move on from him, since he still drew an enormous salary and had to be a constant roster consideration. Steve Ralston left and returned, and 30 seconds into his return broke his arm and never played again. Matt Reis was in the midst of a possible late-career revival when he blew up his knee tendons, and that was after he almost lost his father-in-law in the Boston Marathon bombings. There have been big signings that failed, club favorites (Jeff Larentowicz, Marko Perovic) who were let go inexplicably, and, since about 2008, things have always looked just an inch away from collapse. But all that time the Revs spent at the summit, from 2002-08, has made Revs fans fiercely proud of their history.
What nicknames, chants and slang are unique to New England, and can you please explain them if they aren’t readily apparent to the outsider?
SS: Well, “Revs” is the nickname for the Revolution. That one’s not hard. The fans don’t really have too many totally unique chants, and for more info on that you’d probably have to talk to some members of The Rebellion and the Midnight Riders, the major supporters’ groups. For players, though, we do have a number of nicknames and slang. “JoGo” is Jose Goncalves, also a play on the term “jogo bonito.” Chris Tierney has been called “CT8” more than once, as well as “Chuck D” or “CD9” for Charlie Davies. Andrew Farrell’s Twitter handle sort of christened him as “2 Fast 2 Farrell” though that’s not a well-used moniker. Stephen McCarthy is often known as “Big Macca” or, for a short time in 2012, “Big Creepy.” A good performance driven by Lee Nguyen is “Nguyenning,” and when Kelyn Rowe directs the offense or scores, he’s “Roweing.” Diego Fagundez is still sometimes called “Biebergundez,” which has always had a more affectionate connotation than the name might otherwise suggest.
What are the can’t-miss things to do when Orlando City fans visit a Revolution game?
SS: Gillette Stadium is in Foxboro, Massachusetts, and the only places you need to go in Foxboro are Gillette Stadium and Patriot Place, the big shopping center that surrounds the stadium. There are restaurants, bars (CBS Scene, Bar Louie, Toby Keith’s), and a Showcase Cinema de Luxe in that place, and I can tell you from personal experience that it’s a good spot.
If you mean Boston, which is often the city that is considered the Revs’ “city,” then there are an inhumanly large number of awesome places to go. When I lived there, I frequented the Fenway and Fanueil Hall neighborhoods, hitting such hotspots as Bleacher Bar, Jillian’s Lucky Strike, Sissy K’s, and the Black Rose. If you want a place with some character, try the Banshee in Dorchester, which is in Southie, but is also the main HQ of like half a dozen foreign supporters’ clubs of various teams, and where watch parties for USA matches are usually held. However, the most exciting and up-and-coming place to enjoy the nightlife in Boston these days is the Seaport district. I had one of the best meals of my life at Pastoral Artisan Pizza down that way, and the Trillium Brewery is in that area, as well as plenty of other bars and restaurants.
You could, of course, also mean Providence, where most of the Rebellion gathers. Providence is a restaurant and beer mecca these days, and you could get good eats at Harry’s Burger Bar, Vanity, and Los Andes, or you could enjoy the libations at Trinity Brewhouse, Wild Colonial, Wickenden Pub, and many, many more. If you’re around at the right time, stay the night and catch a Waterfire, it’s always a good time.
There are no matchday traditions besides the tailgate. Don’t miss that. The Rebels and the Riders are most welcoming and know how to have a good time.
Who are the key players on New England’s roster that we should know about?
SS: I’d say Jermaine Jones qualifies, but I think you know all about him. He’s added steel, size, leadership, and technical ability to a midfield that was already dangerous, and he leads from the middle. Jose Goncalves is the team captain and probably the emotional core of the team. He is generally a calm presence toward opponents, but he knows exactly how to get a good response from his teammates and his defending is pure class. Lee Nguyen is a league MVP candidate. He’s the top-scoring midfielder in MLS and has been nothing short of unreal in 2014. Diego Fagundez is the young phenom who’s been taking the league by storm since his debut in 2011, but a down year this year has sort of spoiled that a bit. His talent is nevertheless undeniable. And then there are the other young guns like Kelyn Rowe, the midfield dynamo; Andrew Farrell, one of the bright young defensive stars in MLS; and A.J. Soares, now a veteran and another rock in the center of defense.
Which Revolution players do you think might get exposed in the upcoming MLS Expansion Draft?
SS: This is a tough question. You can only protect 10, after all. I’m sure some of the fringe players will be exposed, but there’s a core of about 14-15 players you would absolutely never want left available. I think rookies Patrick Mullins and Steve Neumann are in danger, as well as club favorite Chris Tierney and maybe young defensive midfielder Scott Caldwell. Teal Bunbury is at risk, I would think, as is Daigo Kobayashi, for sure. Like I said, it’s difficult to speculate right now.
Thanks so much to Steve for providing all the requisite background on the Revolution. We look forward to getting a good healthy hate going for New England starting in 2015.
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