The last group of players to take a look at are the forwards on the Revolution roster. This group does have potential; between the midseason acquisition of Gustavo Bou and the offseason acquisition of Adam Buksa, there should be more goals amongst this group. Last year’s golden boot winner for the team came out of the midfield. There will be hopes that changes this year.
Gustavo Bou – They say it is crucial to make a good first impression, and Bou made a stunner of a first impression. His first game, he scored a peach of a goal against Vancouver and went on to contribute nine goals and two assists in 14 games, 13 starts with the Revolution. Bou’s link-up play with the other forwards, as well as his connection with Carles Gil, helped to cement his place in the hearts of the fan base. Extrapolated out, Bou could have been close to 20 goals in a full season. With the additions to the top line, defenses can not just put a focus on him, which should free him up for a successful season — one of the few automatic starters going into the preseason, with lofty expectations on his shoulders for 2020.
Tajon Buchanon – The 9th overall pick in the 2019 MLS Superdraft, Buchanon made ten appearances with four starts. During this time on the field, he contributed two assists as well. Buchanon showed a lot of promise going forward and has pace, but an early-season stress fracture caused some issues. I think that he is talented enough to play but needs some development time. Probably trains mainly with the first team and gets good minutes down with Revs II.
Teal Bunbury – Teal Bunbury is entering his 11th season in the MLS, his 6th with the New England Revolution. 2019 started a bit rocky start for him, but with the change in coach, his fortunes changed as well. Teal ended up playing in 32 games with 25 starts and finished with six goals and two assists. While those totals are down from the previous year 11 goals and four assists in 2018, I think his role and not being the focal number 9 as much in 2018 were an advantage. There was a substantial drop in shots on target 33 in 2018 to 21 in 2019, but again I think part of that comes down to a team in the early season that struggled mightily under Friedel. His work rate and willingness to track back defensively have endeared him to the fan base. I think with the additions and more time getting to gel with Bou and Gil will mean a very productive year in 2020 for Teal. Personally think he will get the starting nod due to his hold up play and tracking.
Christian Penilla – Entering his 3rd season with the New England Revolution, Christian Penilla had a very successful season in 2019. While his goal total was down from the 12 he scored in 2018; he did record one more assist in almost 900 fewer minutes played. He featured in 30 games, 18 starts contributing six goals and eight assists. Overall the numbers look solid from Penilla, but at times he seems one of the more frustrating players to watch. The talent is there, but there are moments it feels that the league has figured him out. There are also times he seems to have made up his mind before seeing the whole picture and also has become predictable. I do think the additions of Buksa will help as it will alleviate some of the attention he garnered, and an offseason and a full preseason to gel with Gil and Bou will be substantial to seeing improvements. I think he will get starting minutes but could see him being an impact sub due to pace.
Justin Rennicks – Rennicks has a high amount of upside, but still seems a little raw. 2019 saw him involved in 2 games with one start, but his selection to the U-20 world, while important, did come at an unfortunate moment. He was away from the team when the regime change happened and never seemed to find his feet. Spend the end of 2019 on loan in North Carolina FC with ten games played with three starts, tallying one assist in 301 minutes of action. I think he gets his chances in the US Open Cup and with Revs II.
Adam Buksa – Big offseason acquisition. There are going to be high expectations on his shoulders to lead the line. The young talented Polish striker has over 100 appearances in his six years in the top Polish league. In that time, he has scored 28 goals and contributed 11 assists. While those totals may not be eye-watering, in the first half of the Polish 2019/20 season, he had seven goals and four assists in 17 appearances, which is improved from the 22 appearances with 11 goals and four assists in 2018/19 full season. There may be an adjustment tie, but the Polish league is known for being a bit more physical, which will suit some of the MLS styles. Preseason is going to be important as well for him to gel with his teammates quickly to settle in for the 2020 season. I am expecting him to be an easy pick to be a starter for the majority of the season.