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Mar
11

First impressions on a trio of trialists

While the current 12-day trip to North Carolina is vital to the players who are already part of the Revolution’s roster as they prepare for the season opener in just two weeks, a good deal of focus must also be paid to the three players currently on trial with the club – Marko Perovic, Gareth Williams and Andres Raad. As the Revs continue their search for help on the attacking end of the field, one (or all) of these players could end up being a big piece of that puzzle. We’ll know more at the conclusion of their week-long stay with the Revolution, but today we got our first real look at the three trialists in action.

Here’s some notes on each of them, plus brief video clips of all three …

Marko Perovic – The 26-year-old Serbian landed in North Carolina late yesterday afternoon and made his first appearance at last night’s team meal. He chatted with the players at his table during dinner, which revealed one important fact from my perspective – he speaks English.

There was slight confusion when he jogged out onto the training field this morning wearing #17, as it was fellow trialist Gareth Williams who wore that number yesterday. Turns out, Williams will now wear #2 for the week, while Perovic will wear #17.

My very first impression - which was shared with those around me – was that he’s actually a bit bigger than I had expected. Somewhere around six-foot or six-foot-one, he’s sturdy and has quite a bit of strength on the ball.

From a playing standpoint, he appears to be pretty versatile. During the small-sided games he spent time playing both out on the left wing and in the middle, and seemed comfortable enough in both spots. And while many attacking players are either setup men or finishers, Perovic seems to be somewhere in between – first impression was that he likes to pass just as much as he likes to shoot, and he’s unafraid to do either.

He provided what was perhaps the highlight goal of today’s session in one of the small-sided games. Driving down the right wing, he quickly cut the ball back to the inside with his right foot before using his left to curl a low shot off the far post and into the net.

Gareth Williams – While Perovic took many opportunities to push high into the attack, Williams preferred to stay a bit deeper and kept the game in front himself. The Scottish midfielder played centrally during each small-sided game and was often searching for the killer long ball over the top or through the defense on the ground.

He also showed a propensity for possession, as he clearly preferred to get the ball and pass the ball. As soon as he won the ball or had the ball played to his feet, his head was up and he was looking for an open teammate. In other words, he likes to keep the ball moving and didn’t seem like the type to fool around trying to dribble through a maze of defenders.

During crossing and finishing at the end of the session, he put his height to good use, getting on the end of a few crosses with glancing headers.

Andres Raad – While both Perovic and Williams are at least six feet tall, Raad is only about five-foot-eight and plays a different style game.

First of all, Raad was used in a higher role during the small-sided games – not necessarily an out-and-out forward because he often tracked back into defense, but he seemed to be deployed in a role a bit closer to the box than his fellow trialists. He showed some quick footwork with the ball at his feet and was able to work himself out of tight spaces a few times.

Using plenty of one-touch passing, Raad often came back toward the ball to give the midfielders an option, played a one-touch pass and then spun off toward goal hoping for a return ball. While he doesn’t having lightning speed, he seems to enjoy playing “quick.”

During crossing and finishing at the end of today’s session, Perovic went wide to the left and served balls into the middle, where Williams and Raad were among the players crashing the box.

Joseph Niouky Update – I had planned on writing another blog post today with first impressions of Joseph Niouky, but unfortunately that’s been put on hold for the time being. While sliding in for a tackle about halfway through today’s session, Niouky caught one of his teammates’ studs on his ankle/shin and was forced to the sideline for the remainder of the day. I do promise, however, that once he gets back on the field I’ll get up a similar blog with first impressions (and hopefully some thoughts from his new teammates).

I’ll be back later today with a quick post about the ongoing rehab of Taylor Twellman and Matt Reis, both of whom are with the team in North Carolina. Tomorrow we’ll switch focus a bit and concentrate on the team as a whole, as the Revs prepare for Saturday night’s match against the Charlotte Eagles.

15 comments

  1. Kyle says:

    Perovic and Williams sound promising, but I don’t know what to make of Raad, as you describe him. He doesn’t have lightning speed, but he likes to play “quick”… did that mesh with our guys’ style of play? How did it work?

  2. Pablo ponce says:

    Go raad!!!! He is an outstanding player with much to offer
    Go Andy

  3. Jeff Lemieux says:

    Kyle – Raad had a few good one-two combinations which opened up some space, but like I said, he doesn’t have what you would call breakaway speed. He’s not slow or lumbering or anything, I just think people have a tendency to see smaller players and assume they must be really fast.

    It’s tough to tell after one session whether his style meshes, but we’ll get another look tomorrow and an even better look on Saturday night against the Charlotte Eagles.

  4. Nick says:

    From all that I have read and heard about Andres Raad since seeing his name in the blog, he seems to be a player that we should go after. I’ve heard nothing but positives regarding his play. Hopefully his style meshes with the club and we sign him up.

    I am very excited about seeing what the boys can do this season with all these new and potential players.

  5. joe says:

    By your notes Jeff it looks like all three trialist have a shot. Let’s see how they do on Saturday during a match.

  6. Javier Benitez says:

    I don´t think all is about speed but having the right combination of skills. I think Raad could work well as being the one who creates spaces and could make a difference in the overall result

  7. zico says:

    In soccer doesn t matter if you are big…thats the problem with american soccer you are looking only for ¨big players…this is not basketball….best player of the world is only 1.62…Messi..
    Maradona was 1,64…
    Raad is one the best young player ..he is different…and different players are the best…
    Ask Messi , maradona…
    Common guys
    >Let raad show his potential…
    Raad will fit perfectly on the Revolutions

  8. William says:

    The type of game that Raad plays is quite different from the other guys, I think that will be an amazing advantage since is not predictable and gives advantage to the team, what do you think??

    Also the footwork is important, move in tight spaces that will make opportunities not just for the fowards also for the midfielders which can take a chance or a shot from any of these opportunities

  9. Camille says:

    I find it interesting to see that raad’s inclusion in training has prompted some who normally wouldn’t post on this blog to have a say.

    He could be the tricky Latin player that brings out that segment of fans in full force.

    Too bad about niouky. Let’s hope has a speedy recovery and can work his way into the side.

  10. Basil says:

    Andres Raad is a complete player. He has that unpredictable skill and vision that many players dont have, that momemt of magic that can win you a game…If he is developed correctly he will be the type of player that will make fans pay for their ticket

  11. Lisa Crist says:

    Andres Raad´s footskills are phenomenal. He´s quick with the ball and opens up space to CREATE an offense.. i would see him potentially being a playmaker… good luck to him.

  12. Bob says:

    yea if theres skill there speed shouldnt be an issue…pretty sure twellmans not the fasted dude out there.

  13. Bsumm1 says:

    Not enough has been said of Perovic here. So for those of you who want to see what he can do, look for his games for Red Star and Basel on YouTube. To me, this guy is the most exciting prospect of the three, although they all bode well if we can sign them up. Marko has terrific athleticism and has extensive experience in tough European leagues. He’s only 26, still yet to hit his peak and having been injured for some time it is not surprising his name was forgotten. I’ve been a Revs fan from day 1 in 96, and believe me when I say this guy is quality. If he can hit full fitness, we’ve got a potential Ralston replacement in terms of versatility and quality. That is how highly I rate this guy.

  14. Viktor L'Burrouh says:

    As a former coach, I am extremely proud that one of the most talented soccer players I have ever met has made it so far. I knew since the first time I saw Andres Raad play, that sooner or later his skills, dedication and passion for the game would be recognized. NE Revolution will be extremely benefited to have such a versatile, committed and enthusiastic young player on its team. My congratulations and best wishes to Andres!

  15. Louis says:

    Well as a director in the last team Raad was playing i can highly recomend him, hes a versatile player he is good in offense and defense you just have to find the right position for him and also use his abilities contact me for more info anytime good luck Andres

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