Sunday, September 02, 2007

Revs sign Gambian U-20 Nyassi, cut Oka and Solle

The New England Revolution announced on Friday that they have signed Gambian U-20 midfielder Sainey Nyassi, and released midfielders Arsene Oka and Ryan Solle.

The 18-year-old Nyassi caught the attention of a few MLS sides after he starred in this year’s U-20 World Cup with a Gambian team that reached the knockout stages by beating New Zealand and Portugal. He started each of the squad’s four matches, and although he did not record any offensive statistics during the tournament, he was reportedly training with the Revolution soon after his strong showing.

By adding Nyassi, the Revolution hope to infuse some added talent among a midfielding corps that, at times, has been stuck in neutral. The Revs have scored only four goals in their past five games, one of which was an own goal during the NY Red Bull game. Additionally, it was rumored that the Revs were also looking at Abdoulie Mansally, a fellow U-20 Gambian teammate of Nyassi.

Though the Revs already had two open rosters spots, a corresponding set of moves were made in conjunction with the addition of Nyassi. The club waved goodbye to midfielders Arsene Oka and Ryan Solle, as they were given their release from the club Friday.

Oka, who was originally signed on September 15, 2006, had an impressive preseason where scored three goals in six games. He was rewarded with his first MLS action this season when he appeared as a substitute at Chicago during the season opener on April 7. However, as soon as it appeared he was on his way to more regular playing time, he was ultimately limited to six reserve division matches afterward, where he scored two goals and recorded one assist.

Solle was drafted in the second round (25th overall) of the 2007 MLS SuperDraft in January, and looked primed to join his Wake Forest teammate, Revolution first round pick Wells Thompson, in the New England midfield this season. Although he did not record any first team minutes, Solle played in all eight reserve division matches, and recorded one assist during the season. He was also one of the primary corner kick specialists for the reserve squad this season.

Finally, the Revolution also announced that they had obtained FC Dallas’ natural first-round selection in the 2008 Supplemental Draft for “salary budget considerations.”

What this seemingly “minor” move may entail is two-fold. One, it appears that the front office may have traded off open salary cap space for the additional selection next year, which may shut the door on the Revolution making a major acquisition this season. Secondly, it may also indicate that manager Steve Nicol may already be eyeing another collegiate star for next season’s roster.

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