by CAMERON MERRITT
FOXBOROUGH — It was a busy first week of the MLS preseason for the New England Revolution, along with the rest of the league.
On Tuesday, the league held it’s Supplemental Draft for players signed by the league who had not been drafted by a team in last week’s SuperDraft.
The Revs made four selections, starting with UConn D Jossimar Sanchez (first round, fourth overall), then took F Chris Thomas from Elon (second round, 23rd overall), D Alex DeJohn from Old Dominion (third round, 42nd overall), and MDF Gabe Latigue from Elon (fourth round, 61st overall).
Several players from New England colleges were taken as well, including BU MDF and Chelsea, MA native Michael Bustamante (first round, 13th overall) to NY Red Bulls, Harvard F Brian Rogers (second round, 29th overall) to Vancouver Whitecaps FC, PC MDF Mark Cintron (second round, 34th overall) to NY Red Bulls, UConn F Stephane Diop (third round, 51st overall) to NY Red Bulls, Sacred Heart (CT) D Marcello Castro (fourth round, 63rd overall) to Colorado Rapids, Amherst College F Alejandro Sucre (fourth round, 67th overall) to Vancouver Whitecaps FC, and UConn D and Farmington, CT native Max Wasserman (fourth round, 69th overall) to Real Salt Lake.
Then on Wednesday came some major news for professional soccer in North America as the MLS and USL Pro, the third tier of US Soccer, announced they would enter into a partnership to help player development and promote the growth of the professional game.
Under this new partnership, teams can choose two options. A USL Pro team may become an MLS club’s affiliate or choose to remain independent. MLS Reserve teams will play two games a year against a USL Pro team, and those MLS teams with affiliates will have those affiliates serve as their reserve team, with at least four of the parent club’s players on a long term loan to the USL Pro side.
The Revs announced today that the Rochester Rhinos would serve as their affiliate. The upstate New York club, which finished second in the league last season, will keep it’s own players along with receiving some on loan from New England. During the MLS Reserve-USL Pro interleague series, the Rhinos will get a chance to take on the reserves from their once bitter rivals, Montréal Impact, from back when the two were in the old USL First Division.
The Revs tied Sporting KC 0-0 in their first preseason match in Arizona on Friday. Played in a rather unusual three 30 minute period style, coach Jay Heaps sent out a different formation each period, giving himself a chance to especially watch some of his new players play in different roles, as is the usual for preseason match-ups. The Revs did not get a chance to go against former teammate Benny Feilhaber, who was traded to Sporting KC back in December, as he had been called to train with the US National Team earlier this month, though they will get to see him and the rest of his new team in Gillette on March 23 for the Revs home opener.
New England wraps up its Arizona trip tomorrow with a match against Vancouver, then will travel back home to continue the preseason and will open up the regular season in Chicago against the Fire on March 9.