New England Revolution 2021 Roster Preview: Part 1

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Revolution Forwards

Overview

Going into the 2021 season, the Revolution returned all four forwards from last season and added depth with first-round Super Draft pick Edward Kizza. Last season saw the forwards contributed 19 of the team’s regular-season 25 goals. The Revolution is also returning all of those goals from Bunbury, Buksa, and Bou. There are questions of the attack given the lower productivity than the fan base expected. The return of midfield creative mind Carles Gil for the entirety of the season should bode well for the forwards, but there needs to be understanding and better finishing. Please note, I am going through these in last name alphabetical order.

Gustavo Bou

Photocredit: Revolution Communications

Gustavo Bou had a difficult 2020 season. With the pre-season injury to Carles Gil, there was increased pressure put on Bou to produce but creatively and offensively. Bou also had to deal with an injury late in the season, causing him to miss 5 of the Revolution’s 23 games. With more playing games and playing time in 2020, Bou could not reach the same heights in 2019. Throughout his 18 games, 14 starts, Bou had five goals and one assist. I believe that this came down to two factors. The first factor was that with the league knowing he was a more significant danger threat for the Revolution, there was more focus on him. Secondly, Gil’s injury added more creative onus on him and caused him to overplay at times. Bou’s form in the playoffs improved with Gil being back scored three goals in four games.

The 2021 season is vital for Gustavo Bou. The primary question going into the season is which version of him will be on the pitch. Will Revolution fans see the 2019 and 2020 playoff version or the 2020 regular season player. I believe that you will see the 2019/2020 playoff Bou in the upcoming season. The biggest worry I have is in terms of his shooting. While we know he shoots, Gustavo Bou does not have a phenomenal shot record. In his two seasons with the Revolution, he has had a 36.6 percent shot on target percentage. I am hoping that this number heads into the 40-50% this coming season.

Bou is a key component to the Revolution’s success in 2021, and while the condensed schedule may not allow him to make as many starts, he is one of the first names on the team sheet game in and game out. My expectations for Bou in the 2021 season are to hit double digits in goals for the fourth time in his career and increase his assist total to around five or six.

Adam Buksa

Photocredit: Revolution Communication

2020 was a difficult season for Revolution newcomer Adam Buksa. After scoring his first goals for the Revolution in his home debut, the season went into lockdown. Separated from both home and teammates had to be trying for the young striker. Buksa struggled to find his shooting boots; he finished the season with six goals and one assist. Though this was not an improvement over his previous season in Poland, I felt this was an acceptable first year given the circumstances. While he had 23 appearances, only 16 of them were starts, and his total minutes averages slightly over 16 complete games. Most of his substitute pieces were cameo’s which did not help his goal drought. With Gil’s return, he had one goal in four starts and five shots off the post in the playoffs. The playoff performances show what he can be for the Revolution.

Simply put, Buksa needs to produce in 2021. He is two years removed from scoring 11 goals for Polish side Pogoń Szczecin, and he needs to rediscover that form. From everything he has said this pre-season, Buksa feels more comfortable with the league and his teammates ahead of the 2021 season. He needs to have a higher finishing rate than 25 percent of his shots on target. While his hold-up play was solid, the hope is to see more balls sticking to him this season. Having additional pieces on the wing should help with good crosses coming into the area.

I believe the DP striker will come good this season. Having a whole year to adapt to the league and country should show improved numbers this coming season. While he will have competition from Kizza and Rennicks, Buksa will get the majority of the starts. How he handles the additional pressure will show his future with the club. I hope to see him reach double digits somewhere between 10-15 goals this upcoming season with 5 to 6 assists.

Teal Bunbury

Photocredit: Revolution Communications

Teal Bunbury had his typical Revolution season in 2020. He ended the season with a team-leading eight goals, as well as one assist. He improved his goal total over the 2019 season, where he had six goals and one assist. Bunbury started 19 of the Revs 23 games in 2020 and was involved in 22 of them. He continued to show the work rate that has endeared him to the fan base and Bruce Arena. He did help to shoulder more of the offensive burden, especially when Bou went down with his injury, scoring 4 of his eight goals in those five games.

Teal Bunbury had his typical Revolution season in 2020. He ended the season with a team-leading eight goals and one assist, an improvement over his goal total over the 2019 season. Bunbury started 19 of the Revs 23 games in 2020 and was involved in 22 of them. He continued to show the work rate that has endeared him to the fan base and Bruce Arena. He did help to shoulder more of the offensive burden, especially when Bou went down with his injury, scoring 4 of his eight goals in those five games.

I think Bunbury in 2021 will be an essential depth piece for the Revolution. With the compact schedule, Bunbury will be a mixture of a starter and an impact substitute. His work rate and pace will let him come into multiple late-game situations. I think you will see Bunbury again getting close to that 8 to 10 goal range and hoping to see his assists get closed to 5/6.

Edward Kizza

Photocredit: Revolution Communications

The 2020 collegiate year was not what Edward Kizza was expecting. After featuring and scoring twice in the exhibition matches for Pitt, it was announced that he was no longer a member of the team. Simultaneously, the coach did reiterate that he was in good standing and did not desert the program. This situation still allowed him to drop in the MLS Superdraft and get selected 24th by the Revolution.

2021 will be a development year for Edward Kizza. With little game time from his last season in college, it will be interesting to see his progress and adjustment to MLS. His pace is his greatest asset from an attacking standpoint this year. Kizza’s ability to get behind the defenders will allow him to be deployed in a complementary role to Buksa or Bou. The one thing we will wait to see if it develops is Kizza’s hold-up play. If he is playing as a number nine, it may be the puzzle’s final piece to have a good season to a break-out season.

I think Kizza will get playing time, and with the tight schedule, some start for the Revolution. For his rookie season, I can see him as a highly impactful substitute off the Revolution bench. From the two pre-season games, his pace is something that can have an impact on the match. He missed some opportunities in those two pre-season games we could watch, but I expect him to find his accuracy. I am hoping to see 6 to 10 goals and maybe 3/4 assists from him.

justin Rennicks

Photocredit: Revolution Media

2020 was a complicated year for Justin Rennicks in his Revolution career. He only featured in 32 minutes for the first team during the regular season. The most significant impact he had was his miss during the home opener’s waning minutes against Chicago Fire FC. Rennicks was loaned down to Revolution II for the end of the USL I season and scored four goals and had one assist in eight games. Rennicks was able to have a considerable impact on the USL I team. This brought him confidence back for the playoffs with the Revolution. I stand by the fact that Bou missed him open on his left, wide open for a chance to win the play-in match.

2021 will be an interesting season for Rennicks. Development-wise, Rennicks needs to continue finding regular game time between either Rev II or the first team. It will also be telling to see how he reacts to having more competition in the squad. Hopefully, Kizza’s arrival will be an excellent reminder to Rennicks that he has competition for his spot in the 18. Having performed well in his cameo appearances in the playoffs and with Revs II, hoping to see more of the same in 2021.

I believe that Rennicks will be going back and forth between the first team and Rev II in the 2021 season. He has the talent and ability to perform at the MLS level, but can he maximize that into a productive season. Due to the compact schedule, he will get his chances at the very least as an impact sub on the wing or through the middle. Hoping he gets five goals and a couple of assists.

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