Ahead of Wednesday's game with New England, I swapped questions with Steve Stoehr of SB Nation's Revolution blog, the Bent Musket, where you can get all your revs related info before the game. After the jump, we talk about Paul Mariner's player acquisition and coaching skills, and how Shalrie Joseph is having to do too much these days. So, New England, How you doin'?
Waking the Red: How has the addition of Benny Feilhaber and Rajko Lekic changed things, both on the pitch, and as far as fans expectations are concerned?
The Bent Musket: Their addition (that of Feilhaber, especially) ramped up fan expectations considerably, because there was a sense that Benny and Rajko would fill some pretty awful gaps in the Revolution offense. Instead, New England remains as anemic and impotent in attack as ever, and that has caused the fans to feel further betrayed and disillusioned.
WTR: How important was Paul Mariner to the Rev’s success back in the day? How would you rate his player acquisition skills? If it all goes wrong with Aron Winter, could you see him as a good successor at head coach?
TBM: Paul Mariner was a huge part of the squads that made three MLS Cup Finals appearances in the second half of the last decade. He's tactically sound and a pretty good coach overall. That said, he doesn't have a track record of bringing in great players - most of the Revolution's greatest acquisitions in the last ten years were made in the John Murphy era, not the Mariner era. Furthermore, his time at Plymouth Argyle can hardly be considered a success. If everything goes wrong with Winter, you could do far worse than Mariner, but don't expect him to become the next 100-win head coach in MLS; the evidence just isn't there yet.
WTR: Shalrie Joseph’s obviously provided his share of drama and distraction over the last couple of seasons. How important is he to the team, and how’s he playing so far this year?
TBM: Shalrie is the lifeblood of the Revolution. He's the team leader in shots, shots on goal, and goals right now as well as team captain. He's also the most important cog in the midfield engine room thanks to his ability to maintain possession and pick out incisive passes. Unfortunately, the general deterioration of talent around him has caused Joseph to become a player who is trying to do too much, I think. He's been giving the ball away a bit more than usual and is taking more and more outlandish risks. Shalrie is the first name on the team sheet, but he needs help and he needs it fast.