FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Six months after trading Michael Parkhurst for allocation money and the fourth overall pick at last January’s SuperDraft, the New England Revolution will face their former back-line anchor when the Columbus Crew come to town on Saturday.
Parkhurst, who spent four years in New England (2005-2008) before departing for Danish side FC Nordsjaelland, returned to MLS in January. But even though the Revolution had the first crack at signing the 2007 MLS Defender of the Year, the organization took a different course of action.
“At the time, you’re trying to assess the situation for what it is,” Revolution coach Jay Heaps said. “Where we were with our back line, where we were from a salary cap standpoint, and where we were in the draft, all three of those things weighed into getting a first-round pick and getting a significant amount of money.”
With center back Jose Goncalves coming off a Defender of the Year-caliber campaign, and the amount of money the club invested to bring him back for a second season, the front office decided to trade Parkhurst, who would be commanding $300,000 for the 2014 season.
In addition to saving on costs, the trade netted them additional funds in the form of allocation money, as well as Steve Neumann -- who the Revolution drafted with the fourth overall pick.
Heaps, who played on the same back line as Parkhurst for four years, said he wasn’t excited at the prospect of trading away his former teammate.
“He’s a great player and someone that was a teammate of mine,” Heaps saId. “He’s someone that I respect all the way around. Those decisions are never easy, but you try to weigh them to the best of your ability at the time.”
Soares at holding midfielder?
Earlier this month, the Revolution were forced into a corner after starting midfielder Andy Dorman was suspended due to yellow card accumulation. And the player who stepped in to fill the void certainly raised some eyebrows.
Although Scott Caldwell spent much of last season inhabiting the holding midfielder’s spot, Heaps went against the grain. Instead of Caldwell, Heaps tabbed center back A.J. Soares despite the fact that the fourth-year defender had never played the position during his professional career.
“You try and find the right pieces that we feel is best for each game,” Heaps said, “and usually game tactics and where we feel the player could best benefit (are factored).”
To date, Soares has filled the holding midfielder’s spot twice: at Salt Lake (July 4) and at Los Angeles (July 16) after Dorman was shelved with an MCL sprain. Soares received a red card during the 5-1 loss at Los Angeles, allowing Caldwell to reclaim his spot, at least temporarily, at Dallas last Saturday.
On paper, another candidate who appeared to be a possible replacement was center back Stephen McCarthy, who entered the league as a holding midfielder as a rookie in 2011. However, he said he hasn’t had discussions with Heaps about reprising the role.
But even though the notion hasn’t been discussed in light of Dorman’s injury, Heaps didn’t dismiss the possibility of putting McCarthy into the role at some point in the future.
“We always assess a lot of those roles and it also matters how a player’s playing, the form their in and what they can bring physically at the time, and where they are in our assessment,” Heaps said.
Davies would love to play at Fenway
Revolution forward Charlie Davies will be at Wednesday’s Liverpool-AS Roma friendly at Fenway Park, and is interested to see how the dynamics of playing on a baseball field play out for the European powerhouses.
When asked what he thinks about the idea of playing at the historic ballpark with his Revolution teammates, the Manchester, N.H., native gave his full support.
“I think it’d be awesome to see how that would work out,” Davies said. “Fenway Park is legendary. I think it’d be an awesome thing to have once a season.”