Saturday, December 08, 2007

A Tale of Two Halves (of the MLS season): The Andy Dorman Interview

For Andy Dorman, the 2007 MLS season must have felt like a tale of two halves. After inheriting the attacking midfield spot vacated by the potent Clint Dempsey, the former Boston University Terrier tore through the opposition in the first half of the season like Jet Li against all of those ninjas in Kiss of the Dragon, racking up seven goals and an assist all before the MLS All-Star game – a game his performance certainly warranted consideration for.

However, things began to change in the second half of the season. His offensive statistics began to wane even though the club was still scoring goals – and more importantly, winning – with him in the first XI. Then, shortly after the Revolution’s US Open Cup Championship in early-October – a game in which he not only started, but played the entire ninety – he found himself relegated to the bench four days later in Chicago. Unbeknownst to him at the time, but the US Open Cup Championship would be the final time the attacking mid would find himself in the first XI for the Revolution in 2007. As the postseason neared, Nicol kept Dorman on the bench for much of the remainder of the season and playoffs, as the club’s second leading scorer’s minutes diminished dramatically.

With the MLS off-season now in full-swing, Revsnet’s Brian O’Connell recently caught up with Andy to get his thoughts on the two-sided coin that comprised his 2007 season.

Brian: Going into the season, you were pegged as the player that would most adequately fill the shoes of Clint Dempsey as the playmaker on this team. Did you prepare any differently this season as you had in previous seasons, given the added pressure of replacing a guy like Clint?

Andy: Well obviously Clint was and is a great player but I didn’t feel any added pressure of replacing him. I prepared the same as the previous years with rest until the New Year and then starting back in the gym in January. Then I started pre-season with the team at the end of the month.

Brian: You got off to a remarkable start to the season, scoring seven goals before the MLS All-Star game – a game which many would argue you should have been a part of in light of your mid-season stats. Were you surprised at all that you weren’t chosen to the All-Star squad, especially since Steve Nicol was the man at the helm for the MLS side?

Andy: I felt I was playing well at the time and I would have loved to play against Celtic in that game, it would have been great experience and exposure. But I missed out on the All Star team the year before when I felt I was playing better than in 2007 at the equivalent time of the season so I was not surprised.

Brian: After the All-Star break, your goal scoring cooled down somewhat, even though you managed to score a goal in the US Open Cup game against Harrisburg back in August. How does a player like you try to get back on track? Did the tremendous start add any undue pressure in terms of getting back on the score sheet?

Andy: I didn’t see myself as going off track we were winning games and although I wasn't scoring goals I was happy with my work ethic and contribution to the team. It is nice to score goals but I don’t judge my performances solely on goal and assist stats. I believe I am a two way midfielder and during that time I was working harder defensively so found myself in deeper positions and therefore found it harder to get into goalscoring positions.

Brian: As you struggled to find the back of the net as the season wore down, were you at all concerned that your starting role may be in jeopardy?

Andy: I was just concerned with working hard and winning games for the Revolution; the rest is out of my control so I didn’t really think about it.

Brian: It seemed like your demotion to the bench came very suddenly, almost out of nowhere, because you had started every game of the season up until the October 6th match at Chicago, when you came on as a substitute. When did you learn that you would be dropped for that match? Were there any signs prior that there may be a change brewing in terms of how Nicol wanted to utilize you?

Andy: I found out after pre-game meal the day of the game. It was the weekend after we won the Open Cup final so I presumed it was a case of rotation for the Chicago game.

Brian: Obviously, as a player who started every game of the season in 2006, and nearly all of 2007, the decision to drop you must have come as shock. What did Nicol tell you as to the reason for the demotion?

Andy: He wanted to play Steve in the middle to keep more possession.

Brian: It appeared that after the Chicago game, the situation may have just been temporary in order to “shake things up.” Was there any indication from the coaching staff that you would be given the chance to earn your way back in the starting eleven? Was there any point in which you felt that without game experience, it was hard to prove yourself again?

Andy: There were no indications given either way but I had a feeling after the next few games that I had started my last game for the Revs.

Brian: It was common knowledge that you were in the final year of your contract, and with the start you had to the season, your value to the team had certainly increased. Do you think that your contract status played a part in Nicol benching you, to perhaps decrease your value on the free agent market?

Andy: I have no idea what goes on off the field, I was more concerned with training and staying sharp.

Brian: There was a report from The Boston Globe wherein Nicol had stated that he expected you to sign with a British club. How true is this statement? Have you indeed signed, or look to sign, with a club overseas?

Andy: I was hoping to re-sign for the Revs but financially it was never an option. This was despite the generosity of my host family who I would like to thank publicly. They are wonderful people and I will miss them tremendously. Currently my agent David Williamson and I are looking at various options, in America and in Europe for when I am out of contract in January.

Brian: Lastly, there’s no question that you’ve been a fan favorite here in New England. If you could tell the fans one thing about your situation, what would it be?

Andy: I am a proud and dedicated professional and so I don’t want to criticise an organisation that gave me a chance to become that professional. However, the last 3 months especially, have really opened my eyes. What is more important though, is that I say; “Thanks for all your support over the last four years. I wish you all good luck in the future and stay loyal to the team as the MLS Cup will come soon. I have so many brilliant memories of my time with the Revs and you (the fans) have really added to them.

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