Thursday, February 27, 2014
Revs add Kobayashi, Sanchez, Sundly
By Brian O'Connell
You certainly can't accuse the New England Revolution of standing pat during the past two days.
With preseason camp drawing to a close, the club made three additions to its roster, acquiring the rights to midfielder Daigo Kobayashi from the Vancouver Whitecaps for a fourth-round pick in the 2016 draft, and signing defender Jossimar Sanchez and midfielder Alec Sundly to deals as well.
Kobayashi, a 31-year-old native of Fuji, Japan, spent the bulk of his career in the Japanese J-League, but also played in Greece and Norway prior to his arrival in MLS last year.
He scored two goals and added four assists in 30 games for Vancouver in 2013, but his contract option was declined after the season. Seeking a new opportunity, Kobayashi joined Revolution camp last week, playing in both of the club's first two Desert Diamond Cup matches.
After impressing the coaching staff, he agreed to negotiate a new contract with the Revolution in order to facilitate the trade. He will be officially added to the roster upon receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and U.S. P-1 Visa.
"Daigo is a technically-gifted player who fits into our system well," Revolution general manager Michael Burns said in a statement on Wednesday. "He assimilated well with our club when he was in Tucson with us, and we are looking forward to his return to the club soon."
While the club added some much-needed veteran savvy to the midfield, the front office didn't exactly turn its back on some of its younger players in camp.
Sanchez, a 2013 first-round supplemental pick (fourth overall), spent much of last year recovering from a serious leg injury suffered during his senior year at Connecticut. Though unsigned, he trained with the Revolution toward the end of the 2013 season before returning for camp this year.
The 22-year-old defender played in five of New England's first six preseason matches, collecting 297 minutes at fullback. He has also been used on throw-ins, an area the Revolution have not been particularly good at in recent years.
"Jossimar is a young player who will provide depth for us," Burns said in a statement on Wednesday. "He worked hard to return to full fitness after his injury in college, so we're pleased he's earned a spot on our roster this year."
Another player who earned a spot was Sundly, the Revolution's 2014 second-round pick (31st overall). The 21-year-old midfielder has played in all six of the club's preseason matches to date, primarily featuring at holding midfielder.
The former California Golden Bear was invited to the 2014 MLS Combine, but an illness prevented him from competing. While it may have hurt his draft stock, the Revolution were more than happy to claim him in the second round.
"When we drafted Alec in the second round of the draft, we felt like we had a little bit of a steal there," Burns said in a statement. "He's been a nice addition to camp and will provide us with some depth and versatility in the midfield this season."
The additions of Kobayashi, Sanchez and Sundly put the Revolution roster at 28 currently, with two available slots remaining. The club will conclude its slate of preseason games on Saturday against the Colorado Rapids at 5:30 p.m. ET before opening the regular season on March 8 against the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium.