MLS SuperDraft 2021: Revolution 1st Pick To Senior Team, Path For Later Picks

MLS SuperDraft 2021 At A Glance

This year, the 2021 MLS SuperDraft consists of 176 eligible college soccer players. The COVID-19 pandemic has made this year interesting for draft prospects due to the lack of games for safety sake. The ACC and SEC were the only college regions to go ahead and play some games this past year. That shortens the list to 39 players who were able to show their skill and talent in competitive soccer in 2020. Out of the players eligible, there are 56 defenders, 51 midfielders, 50 forwards and 19 goalkeepers. The Revolution organization saw one of those players early and contracted defender Michael DeShields from Wake Forest to Revolution II. The MLS recently announced two more signings of MLS Generation Adidas contracts, climbing that number to a total of five. Daniel Pereira , Calvin Harris, Philip Mayaka, Bret Halsey and Ethan Barlow are the names that grace that list.

Speaking of Generation Adidas…

For the Revolution, the past two years of the MLS SuperDraft and Generation Adidas contracts have gone a long way. New England drafted both Henry Kessler last year and Tajon Buchanan in 2019. We have all seen the talent and great play that those two players bring to the Revolution. A few more in the past decade, Teal Bunbury (with Kansas City Wizards), Andrew Farrell and recently out-of-contract Kelyn Rowe. Looking back, there aren’t many years that the Revolution didn’t pick a player on a Generation Adidas or Project-40 contract. Some players of great importance on that list are Clint Dempsey, Rusty Pierce, Shaker Asad, Jamar Beasley and there are many others.

Positions Of Need For The Revolution

As it stands for New England, there are 22 players contracted to the team out of a total possible of 30. For the Revolution II team, they only have 14 players contracted to the team, with a total possible of 30 as well. The USL League One doesn’t have very many roster rules like the MLS does. Currently, the only real restriction is capping international spots at seven. Obviously, the USL League One team has some holes to fill. It is very likely that the second and third round draft picks that the senior team hold go to Revs II. Those picks currently sit at the 51st and 78th overall, both the 24th pick in their respective rounds.

I’d like to think that the 51st and 78th spots go to forwards for Revolution II. They only have two players contracted to the team who play up front. One of which is a winger, a position which the senior team is lacking depth in as the roster currently stands. The 1st round, 24th pick for me, is slated to go to a defender, whether it’s a center back or wing back. There is a great selection of defenders in the draft. In total, there are around 50 or more draftees in each position besides goalkeeper.

Top 3 Players For The First Round Pick

For me, the glaring need is a center back, but I can also see a wing-back being used for the spot. I personally think SBI has got this one wrong having him go in the 2nd round. For my third player, I would choose left-back Musa Qongo from Creighton University. He is a speedy, wing back with the ability to make pinpoint crosses. His assists with Creighton should have been much higher in 2019, as he was hitting players with an amazing accuracy. He also makes great moves to be able to open up midfielders for creative runs into the box. Also, for an extra connection to the Revolution, his coach at Creighton was none other than midfielder Johnny Torres. Torres has been in the coaching team for his alma mater since 2007.

My 2nd choice, for the 1st round draft pick, I go after Justin Malou, 5 foot, 11 inches of a full back from Clemson University. He’s versatile in the fact that he can move from right back to center back. He would be considered a shadow for Andrew Farrell. Very athletic and great passing skills, he would be a player you could count on to make tackles and aerial duels as well.

My 1st choice for the 1st round pick would be 6 foot, 2 inches of a striker in Luther Archimede, from Syracuse. Archimede is an international player who has experience from France with Sochaux’s second team. He also is consistently getting U-20 and now senior call-ups from Guadaloupe’s national team. He scored 4 goals in 16 appearances with Syracuse and 6 goals in five appearances with Guadaloupe’s U-20 team. If we’re going after a forward who isn’t likely to go in the top 15, this is our player. He’s an extremely aggressive player, always ready to put his body on the line for a goal.

Welcome A.J DeLaGarza

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Many thanks to fbref.com for making gathering these stats easier. Please check them out! Featured Image credit: LA Galaxy v Colorado Rapids at StubHub Center on September 5, 2014 in Carson, CA. Photo by Mora/LA Galaxy.

The New England Revolution recently announced the signing of versatile veteran defender AJ DeLaGarza. The 33-year-old veteran of the league for 12 seasons has made his career at both center-back and right-back.

Teal Bunbury and AJ DeLaGarza MLS Cup Final Dec. 7, 2014 Photocredit: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

DeLaGarza comes to the Revolution after what to him will be a disappointing 2020 season where he played and started in 6 games for expansion side Inter Miami. In those six games, Inter Miami had a record of 3-0-3, though the play-in round loss to Nashville may have been more of a lack of first-team attackers than anything else. Overall in those six appearances, including the playoffs, DeLaGarza played 516 minutes, going the full 90 in 5 of the six games. While he did not score any goals or assist this season, he did have an 84.8 percent passing completion percentage. Defensively DeLaGarza completed 6 of 11 tackle attempted and made eight blocks, 5 of which were shot blocks. He was also on the field for the full 90 of 1 of their three clean sheets, and the only victory when keeping the back end clean.

AJ DeLaGarza began his career with the LA Galaxy after being the 19th overall pick in the 2009 MLS Super Draft and spent the following nine seasons within the Galaxy’s organization. He amused a nice trophy collection as a prominent figure in the 2011, 2012, and 2014 MLS Cup Championships. In his eight seasons with the Galaxy, he amassed 204 appearances, of which 196 were starts, contributing two goals and four assists. In both 2011 and 2014, he started 4 of the playoff matches; in the playoff success to 2014, he added an assist. Revolution fans will remember him going 120 minutes in that final against them and keeping the Revolution offense at bay for the majority of the match.

2014 MLS Cup Final: LA Galaxy final training session at StubHub Center on December 6, 2014 in Carson, CA. Photo by Mora/LA Galaxy.

DeLaGarza departed the Galaxy for the Houston Dynamo in a trade in January of 2017. He spent three seasons with the team, and while healthy, was a crucial piece in the Dynamo backline. In the seasons that DeLaGarza was healthy, he had 57 appearances and 57 starts for the club. DeLaGarza’s 2018 season was shortened due to recovery from an ACL injury at the end of the 2017 season. Still, he was back and on the bench for the 2018 US Open Cup Final victory over the Philadelphia Union.

In a defense depth move by the Revolution, AJ DeLaGarza gives this team a veteran defender. With the experience he brings from 12 years in the league, DeLaGarza provides the Revolution with an experienced option. For the entirety of his time in LA, he has already worked with Bruce Arena, bringing in someone who will be familiar with the coaches playing style and expectations. His previous work with Arena will allow for an easier time acclimating to the group and scheme. New England is also getting a proven winner, who knows what it takes to get over the finish line, with his 3 MLS Cups and 1 US Open Cup.

I think having someone with DeLaGarza’s knowledge can only help the young Revolution defenders from a development side. Henry Kessler had an outstanding rookie campaign, but where he goes in his sophomore year can only improve by having more people to help him learn. Similarly, Brandon Bye and Tajon Buchanan can both learn from DeLaGarza’s experience at right-back. Buchanan is still developing his knowledge of the position, and while Brandon Bye is quite sound on the defensive side, he could use some assistance going forward.

With the lack of playing time and lack of opportunities in Miami, DeLaGarza has a chip on his shoulder to prove that he still can offer something to a club. While 2020 was an interesting season with the Covid break, DeLaGarza would have expected more playing time when signing with Miami. While he may not come straight into the side, if he works hard, he can challenge for the starting position at right-back and possibly push Buchanan back up on the wing.

Since joining the club, DeLaGarza has made a fantastic first impression with the fanbase. He has done nothing but show support and understand the club’s history in his social media posts. From his welcome message, including the two supports ground, The Midnight Riders and The Rebellion, to arriving in Boston quickly after signing to get incorporated in the team sooner. Finally, possibly one of the classiest gestures, DeLaGarza, who has routinely worn the number 20 throughout his career, informed the Revolution community that he needs to find a new one due to what that number has meant club for his time with the Revolution. Everything he has said is nothing more than pure class from DeLaGarza, making me want to see him succeed even more.

Well Deserved Call Up

A brief preface before dive into the numbers for these two guys. The statistical information gathered is from a website called fbref.com. They are wonderful and made my life extremely easier to put my thoughts together and back them up with statistics. Please visit them if you have any interest in soccer statistics.

Affectionately known as Camp Cupcake, the January USA Men’s National Soccer Team training camp roster was announced today, and two members of the New England Revolution’s squad were selected. In the senior team, goalkeeper Matt Turner received his 3rd call up into camp, and rookie phenom Henry Kessler got called into the U-23 camp. While both players will be looking for their first appearances for the national team, Matt Turner should be starting in net for the match against Serbia’s rumored opponent. Kessler may see the field but with other strong defenders in camp has less of a chance.

Matt Turner’s 2020 was another year to remember for the Revolution’s number one. After a disappointing start to the season with the 2-1 loss to the Montreal Impact, Turner picked up a slight knee injury. Starting in the MLS is Back tournament, Turner made many game-changing saves throughout the season. The main one everyone remembers due to proximity is the penalty save over Nani in the MLS Playoffs with the Revolution lead at 2-1, but Turner always seems to come up with the big save when needed. Looking at his statistics this past year, Turner had a 75.5 save percentage, good for top 5 in MLS. His goals allowed versus goals expected to conceded was a +8.2 the top in MLS, which means he allowed fewer goals than expected, and his passing, while not notable, was at 70.6% up from 63.2% the previous year. The other noticeable change was the command of the 18-yard box. Something that we could hear a lot more due to lack of crowds was Turner’s yelling at his defenders and organizational strategies. He looked more at home, telling them where to be and what he expected from them. Finally, as Matt Doyle said earlier this year, he would have had Turner starting over the current number one Zac Stefen, sooo eat your hearts out.

Henry Kessler’s rookie season was one that has Revolution fans drooling with anticipation to see how he can develop into his sophomore season. While Kessler was not projected to be a starter coming into camp by most pundits, including myself, injuries thrust him into Montreal’s spotlight, and he never looked back. Even in his rookie season, Kessler never looked out of place in the MLS. He had a poise and confidence about him that showed in his gameplay. Kessler contributed one goal in his rookie season and no assists while having an 85.2 passing completion percentage. On the defensive side of things, Kessler finished the season with the 3rd best in MLS successful pressures at 44.3 percent and 5th in MLS in clearances with 124. He completed 27 tackles in 35 attempts, which is just a shade under 80%. In what should have been a rookie of the year season, MLS changed the award. Kessler stabilized the Revs’ backline and became one of the most critical players on the field every match.

Going into the US National Team camp is an excellent opportunity for both of these players to further their careers and develop more skills. This can only be seen as a good thing for the Revolution in terms of success in the coming 2021 season.

Five Promising Outward Transfers For Revolution Players

Revolution Players That Create A Profit And Can Grow

As it stands currently, a few of the European and South American transfer windows are open. The Revolution have a few players of value and skill that would produce a transfer fee in leaving. Here’s five of them that I believe would produce the most ideal fee. As well as producing the most fee, these are the players that are most likely to grow from it. To be clear, I don’t mean that I’d be ok with these players leaving.

Carles Gil
Carles Gil, Transfer, maybe?
Credit: Revolution Communications

Gil is the most talented and creative of the five selected. Since joining the Revolution, Carles has shown his prowess on the ball. In 2019, he was in the top 5 in both, shot creating actions and goal creating actions. In 2020, Gil obviously was a huge part of the playoffs contention. He was injured for a good portion of the regular season in 2020, which I think would lower his profit, but definitely beats out most others on the team for value growth. Carles is such a versatile player, I think he would command a 4-5 million dollar transfer fee if he leaves.

Transfermarkt Market Value: 4.40 million dollars

Tajon Buchanan

Buchanan has grown by leaps and bounds since joining the team in 2019 from the 9th spot in the MLS Superdraft. In 2019, Tajon appeared in 10 games and started four. In 2020, he appeared in 23 and started in 11. Buchanan’s dribbling ability and vision of the game has created dangerous opportunities for the Revolution. He scored two goals and created two goals with assists this year for New England. Just recently in December, the Canadian national team called him up for their January training camp. For that reason, along with Bruce Arena finding a starting place for Tajon in his team, I find Tajon to be the player with the most value, beyond their formulated value. He might be valued at 2.20 million dollars, but I could see him leaving the team for 3-4 million sooner rather than later. His gamesmanship in the playoff games only created a higher value. He is only providing the team with profit and if he goes to a better league, he could grow exponentially.

Transfermarkt Market Value: 2.20 million dollars

Matt Turner

Turner has been a name in the mouth of MLS fans everywhere and statisticians love him. Matt has had two amazing years in 2019 and 2020, only cementing his position as the starting goalkeeper. He was nominated for the Goalkeeper of the Year in MLS again this year, for the second year in a row. He ended up getting beat out by Andre Blake this year. Comparing Blake to Turner, Turner was forced to make more saves than Blake this year and did it well. Matt’s shot stopping ability when a goal was for sure by normal standards was amazing. He topped the league in PSxG-GA (Post Shot expected goals minus goals against) at 8.2 goals saved that should have been definite goals. Beyond that, it’s expected that Turner will get a call up for the USMNT again soon after enjoying a training camp stay in 2019. His value may be 1.10 million, but if Zack Steffen can go to Man City for 7 million, then Turner can leave the MLS for 2-3 million as it stands. With USMNT 22nd in the National Team rankings, if he can get a game in and do well, his value will skyrocket for that reason.

Transfermarkt Market Value: 1.10 million dollars

Adam Buksa

Buksa had a year for the Revolution, scoring six goals and assisting one on a selfless pass. He had 23 shots on target, which he placed in 5th in the leaderboard for all of MLS. It didn’t quite follow up the years that he had at Pogoń Sczcezin before he came to the Revolution. For this reason, Adam’s value might be still hot but I think he’d be less of a commodity after the showing this year. He was however a huge part of the playoff wins which gives him a big boost. His ability to score on his own exists but he excels with a great playmaker. Europe would love to have him back at his consistent rate of scoring goals. His transfer value would allow him to go back to Europe for around 5 million as it stands. I think his chance to go to the Poland National team would have improved that transfer fee immensely if he got it.

Transfermarkt Market Value: 4.95 million dollars

Henry Kessler

Kessler had a great year for the Revs. He was third out of the entire league in successful pressures, completing 44 percent of his pushes against an attacker. He also was fifth in clearances making 124 in all matches in MLS. Henry’s defensive contributions helped the team while pressuring and making tackles. Kessler made successful tackles 35 times out of 44, making sure that backline was safe. He definitely deserves a look at for the USMNT but it won’t come as it stands. He will have to show out this year again and prove he deserves the call up. His 1 million dollar valuation is pretty simply it, he would get a million or two to an EFL League One, Championship team.

Transfermarkt Market Value: 1.10 million dollars

Thank You Diego

There has been one constant in the New England Revolution squad for the past ten seasons, number 14, Diego Fagundez. Sadly this changes going into the 2021 season. As of December 8, 2020, Diego Fagundez is no longer a Revolution player.

Fagundez signed as the first Home Grown Player for the Revolution in November of 2010. His first season with the Revolution saw limited time; as a 16-year-old, he had six total appearances, of which three were starting. In 316 minutes of action, he did bag two goals, making him the second-youngest goal scorer in MLS; he is now the 4th. He continued to show promising signs with increased minutes in 2012, same goals with two assists in 775 minutes before having his best statistical year in a Revolution uniform in 2013.

2013 saw Diego seized on his increased playing time, afforded him by head coach Jay Heaps. Fagundez showed tremendous growth during his time on the pitch. He finished the campaign leading the Revolution in goals with 13 and second in assists with 5. 2013 also saw Diego get his first playoff experience, going 180 minutes against Sporting KC, in the Conference Semi-Final loss. While 2014 saw a decrease in goals and assists, Fagundez was still an integral piece to the Revolution’s attack. Contributing five goals and four assists to the MLS Cup Runner-Up season, Diego was the second-highest scorer behind Lee Nguyen and tied for second on the team in assists.

2014 Eastern Conference Champion Celebrations. Photo Credit: Revolution Communications

The next three seasons, under the steady reigns of Jay Heaps, Fagundez saw the continuation of his regular playing time and found consistency in his statistics. In both the 2015 and 2016 seasons, he scored six goals, which kept him in the club’s top performers. He also compiled three and six assists, respectively. With a revamped offense and more settled in, Kai Kamara 2017 saw an increase in both Fagundez’s goals scored and assists as he scored and supplied 7.

2018 saw a new manager Brad Friedel come in for the released Jay Heaps and a more creative role of Diego with the eventual departure of Lee Nguyen. Combining well with speed from new winger Cristian Penilla and interchanging with the false nine of Teal Bunbury, Fagundez took the most of his opportunities. In possibly Diego’s most complete season in Revolution uniform, he scored nine goals and provided eight assists. He was proving himself to be a vital cog in the Friedel machine.

2019 brought changes and challenges to deal with. Incoming creative force Carles Gil took the number ten responsibilities from Diego. These changes pushed him out wide and brought him into a new role as a holding defensive midfielder. Combined with a mid-season change of management and the incoming of an additional attacking midfielder in Gustavo Bou, saw Fagundez’s time diminish and continued to see his role more focused as a holding midfielder. 2019 saw a downtick in his numbers, but Diego still contributed with two goals and three assists, his lowest totals since his second season in the league. 2020 was a weird year all around for most players, but Diego again saw his minutes diminish. Played more on the wing than through the creative outlet in the middle, Diego scored the only goal in the midfield during the regular season. On October 28, 2020, his final appearance against New York Red Bull was the 261st of his tieing him with another legend, Shalrie Joseph, for the club’s most regular-season appearances.

Diego at home vs Toronto Oct. 7, 2020. Second to last home appearance. Photo Credit: Revolution Communications

Diego Fagundez’s performances on the field for the club were always ones of effort. No matter the situation he was coming into for the game, he would always push and try to ensure the club a victory or strive to turn around a result. No matter what was going on off the field, he always put his heart and soul on the line for the club, and the fans understood, appreciate, and love him for it. His final stat line from his ten years at the club reads: 261 appearances, 186 starts, 53 goals, and 37 assists; not only for these stats but his drive and determination had him named to the Revolution All-Time 11 for the first 25 seasons, but also a club legend.

If his on-field accomplishments were not enough to cement his status as a club legend, what he has meant to the New England Revolution off the field firmly shows that he is a legend at this club. Being the first homegrown player signed by the Revolution, this gave local youth soccer players an example of what hard work could get you. He laid the groundwork for players like Scott Caldwell, Justin Rennicks, and Damien Rivera to have a pathway from the Academy to the first team. Diego always had time for the fans, especially the younger generation. He was one of the players who were available for pictures and autographs. His interactions with the younger fans, and his appreciation for the fans, made him a favorite and secured his status as a club legend.

On a personal note about all that can be said to Diego is thank you. Thank you for all the happy memories. Thank you for all the fun goal celebrations. Thank you for always giving your all on the pitch no matter what was going on. Thank you for always coming over to salute The Fort after any performance, good or bad, by the team. Thank you for bleeding for this club for ten years. Thank you for helping to show the youth that they could make it to the first. Finally, thank you for representing the club with the utmost professionalism during your time here. While parting can be a feeling of sorrow, wishing you nothing but success and happiness in your future endeavors. Hope to see you back in a Revolution kit. – Jeremy

I own somewhere around 100 kits, and typically I do not put names on them. For the two clubs I support, Chelsea and the Revolution, I have purchased three name sets and had them put on. For what Diego has meant to the club and what he has done off the field, I added him to what is currently looking like the final home kit he will have worn for the Revolution.

The Revolution Deserve Your Attention New England

Playoff Hype

The New England Revolution are the only current team that are playing meaningful games on your TV as it stands currently. So, get off your butt and change the channel to ESPN tonight at 8:00 PM. I promise you, it will be worth it. The Revolution are a team on a mission and could use your support. In a season where they’ve been unable to have fans in their stadium, they’ve still found ways to win.

They face off against the Philadelphia Union tonight in a Round One playoff. This is the sixth time they meet this season, due to the “pod” aspect of the season this year. They are no longer teams that can say they don’t have a rivalry. It has been named by the MLS Store the “Liberty Rivalry” and there is no better name for it. The Revolution have managed to lose all but the second meeting they had. All those games were one goal matches, besides the final meeting on Decision Day.

Don’t let that fool you though, the games have been hard fought matches, with Andre Blake making ridiculous saves in each game. Here, in the playoffs, Blake has not been known to do the same, he’s crumbled under pressure in each game he’s appeared in for the Union. I hope to see New England pepper Blake with shots during the match, keep him on his toes.

Forget The Past, Focus On The Future

I’ve consistently fought the case for time for Rennicks and Buchanan. Tajon Buchanan is the only member of the Revolution this year to have finished a goal past Andre Blake. Rennicks is also one that would be quite likely to keep Philadelphia on their toes. Justin has speed and an unknown potential to strike on goal. For Bruce Arena, who has been quoted that these teams know no secrets. Employing the players who he doesn’t play all too often who have been known to make things happen.

The Buchanan and DeJuan Jones outside back show that was shown out in Montreal was a phenomenal attack minded defensive pairing. Matthew Polster was shuttled into the back-line when Tajon Buchanan would make runs up the field. The dynamic moves of the formation caused issues for the Montreal defense who wouldn’t know when Tajon would stroll down the right side.

Why They Deserve Your Attention

Who else is currently playing on a Tuesday night? The Revolution are currently your only sports team playing on a Tuesday night in the Playoffs. Make the time, watch them play tonight. They have an identity formulated through their three designated players who make game changing strikes at a moments notice. Carles Gil received a pass from Gustavo Bou and combined for the first goal of the Play-In game on Friday. Bou created his own space for his goal in the dying minutes of the game to win the play-in round.

Adam Buksa was a strong aerial presence during the Montreal game. He was inches close to making his mark on the game with his head. We will continue to see that much in this game. He has players who can give the ball an easy pass into the middle where he waits for the chance. It would be so important for him to get one in these matches, to prove to himself that he can finish the chances that matter.

The New England Revolution deserve your attention because they’re playing strong soccer at the moment. The team on the whole is entirely talented and have created a multitude of chances throughout the year. We have the runner-up of the Goalkeeper of the Year award, Matthew Turner. He’s also a shoe-in to be brought up to the US Men’s National Team as a goalkeeper. He has excelled in shot stopping this year. He’s so exciting to watch when a player goes 1 v 1 against him.

The Revolution Is Televised

They play on ESPN tonight at 8:00, make sure to tune in New England!

New England Revolution: Playoff Roster Preview Pt. 5: Bruce

The New England Revolution made the MLS playoffs for the second consecutive year under head coach and general manager Bruce Arena. In contrast, their form over the last two games has not been the most promising, sloppy defending against DC United and just a lackluster performance against Philadelphia. With that being said, let’s take a look at Bruce Arena and his coaching heading into the playoffs.

Manager – Bruce Arena

Bruce Arena brings years of MLS playoff experience to the table but will it be enough to get the Revolution over the hump. After the performances against D.C. United and the Philadelphia Union, it will be seen how he re-energizes this team. Going against familiar opposition in the Montreal Impact to start the run, can he continue to get one over on Thierry Henry. His decisions and preparation of the team will go along way to deciding how far this team goes. It will also come down to how he reads the game situation and manages the substitutions. I expect him to get the Revolution through the playoff game and have confidence he can lead them on a deep run in the playoffs.

Overall Thoughts:

This team and roster have the pieces to go deep in the playoffs. In Matt Turner and Carles Gil, they have two players who can change a game’s complexion. In the supporting cast around them, there is depth and talent to cause problems. What remains to be seen is can this team gel? Can they play with the fluidity that was seen in the first game in the MLS is Back tournament, when they ran over the Impact but could not finish? If that is the team that shows up, the rest of the league should be on notice.

New England Revolution: Playoff Roster Preview Pt 4: Goalkeepers

The New England Revolution made the MLS playoffs for the second consecutive year under head coach and general manager Bruce Arena. In contrast, their form over the last two games has not been the most promising, sloppy defending against DC United and just a lackluster performance against Philadelphia. With that being said, let’s take fourth look at their roster heading into the playoffs.

Goalkeeping

There were lofty expectations for incumbent number one goalkeeper Matt Turner coming into this season, and he exceeded them. While the opener in Montreal left something wanting, he had injured his knee on that piece of shit that was the turf. Outside the one game Brad Knighton started, Turner has had another exceptional season. Matt Doyle, one of MLS’s analysts, even called for him to be the USMNT starter over Zac Stefan. It is the position where no questions are asked as we enter into the playoffs.

Matt Turner has another stand out season for the Revolution. The one nice thing about not having fans in the seats is that you can hear his growth in his box’s confidence and command. While he holds himself accountable, he also has set an expectation for his defenders and will ensure they are not doing their part. His distribution has also improved immensely. I came into the season saying he needed to show a step up, and he exceeded even my expectations. The playoffs will be his moment to shine. After losing out to Andre Blake for Goalkeeper of the Year (I still think that’s the wrong decision), he will continue to have the chip on his shoulder. He will be the main reason the Revolution have confidence they can take on any opponent in the playoffs.

Brad Knighton covered well in his one start for Turner. He is a serviceable MLS keeper and good backup. He does command his box well and can make an important save or two, but if we see Knighton in the playoffs outside of the game against Montreal, the Revolution will need the backline to step up.

Jeff Caldwell did not see the pitch, so if we see him in the playoffs, the Revolution is in serious trouble.

New England Revolution: Playoff Roster Preview Pt. 3 – Defenders

Revolution Team

The New England Revolution made the MLS playoffs for the second consecutive year under head coach and general manager Bruce Arena. In contrast, their form over the last two games has not been the most promising, sloppy defending against DC United and just a lackluster performance against Philadelphia. With that being said, let’s take another look at their roster heading into the playoffs.

Defense

Outside of the last two games and the first match against NYCFC (the 2-0 defeat that got me ranting again), the New England Revolution defensive is as reliable as I have seen it in several years. They were tied for the 6th best goals against in the league and improved immensely from last year. The addition of Henry Kessler through the draft and the signing of Alexander Büttner, coupled with the development of DeJuan Jones and Brandon Bye, have helped secure the backline for the Revolution.

Brandon Bye has an excellent start to the season before seeing his playing time shrink up with the emergence of DeJuan Jones. Bye is an excellent on-ball defender who was shutting down wide playmakers throughout the season. While his crossing leaves something to be asked, he continues to grow as a defender. He did leave the game against Philadelphia with a slight injury, but if he has recovered, I still only expect him to come from the bench if Jones is healthy. Otherwise, he is the starting right back.

Alexander Büttner had an overall good season. He came into the Revolution, having not played in almost an entire calendar year. He struggled with a small injury initially but once MLS is Back rolled around saw plenty of time. His class and leadership helped solidify the defense, he also has created a very good relationship with star newcomer Henry Kessler. His cultured left foot was also on display, and while I think he would have loved to add a goal or two, he did tie for the team lead in assists with 3. I expect him to whip a couple of balls into the box against Montreal and, if the Revs go on a prolonged run, contribute some assists.

Antonio Delemea outside of the Montreal game, I think Delemea provided good depth in the center of defense for the Revolution. Another player who came into the season injured but saw his playing time diminished because of the emergence of rookie phenom Henry Kessler. I feel like he should be on the bench throughout the playoffs, but I am unsure.

Henry Kessler should have been the Rookie of the Year, but MLS got rid of that award and created Young Player of the Year. Kessler led the Revolution outfield players in minutes played and all defensive categories. He has become a rock in front of Matt Turner and might be the second most important piece in the team sheet currently. Kessler’s relationship with Turner and the rest of the backline shows his command and knowledge of the position. He also scored the lone goal from defenders this season. I expect him to continue to provide that steady presence in the back, and if Montreal defends the way they did against DC, possibly a goal from a corner.

Andrew Farrell continued to grow back into a dominating center back. His partnership with Kessler was quite apparent, and the two of them continue to lead the backline. His understanding of the right-back position works from his time there has also helped him with coverage when Bye or Jones gets caught upfield. I do not expect goals from Farrell though his sole professional goal came against the Impact. I am hoping to lead the line and keeping Turner’s goal free of ridiculous chances.

DeJuan Jones, outside of Henry Kessler, Dejuan Jones has the most surprising rise in this season. His pace was always evident, but his ability to become an on ball defender progress steadily throughout the year. Initially providing cover at left-back when Büttner was injured, Jones made cameo appearances off the bench. After consistent playing time, due to another Büttner injury, he took over the right-back starting role from Brandon Bye. I hope to see him get his first assist or two of the season in the playoffs if healthy.

Michael Mancienne was a hot mess at center back this season. With 0 completed tackles and only three attempted in his five games, coupled with his inability to read where the threat is coming from, he caused significant issues when on the pitch. While he saw some game time, we are in trouble if we see him in the playoffs.

Seth Sinovic played 14 minutes this season due to Bye’s injury. While he may be on the bench, we are in trouble if we see him on the pitch.

New England Revolution: Playoff Roster Preview Pt. 2 – Midfielders

Revolution Team

The New England Revolution made the MLS playoffs for the second consecutive year under head coach and general manager Bruce Arena. In contrast, their form over the last two games has not been the most promising, sloppy defending against DC United and just a lackluster performance against Philadelphia. With that being said, let’s take another look at their roster heading into the playoffs.

Midfield

While frustrating this season on offense, the Revolution midfielders did an outstanding job helping out on the ball’s defensive side. The loss of Carles Gil for most of the season did not help, but the midfield only contributed one goal from open play and two goals overall. They also only added four assists to the team, which needs to improve in the postseason. Defensively, they contributed to one of the best defensive records the Revolution have had in recent seasons and will hope to continue that in the postseason.

Scott Caldwell has become a regular starter again towards the end of the season for the Revolution. Caldwell played well in his defensive midfield role but offered very little going forward. Simultaneously, his passing accuracy has always been towards the highest in his matches and offers good leadership in the locker room and pitch. I expect him to continue to start, though Polster is healthy and ready to start moving to a bench role. No assists, but more hard defensive work is expected from him through the playoffs.

Diego Fagundez provided one goal this season and no assists out of the midfield. While he did provide good cover tracking back, Fagundez was used more as a utility midfielder than an attacking midfielder. He does seem to slow play down but continues to provide adequate depth. I don’t expect him to see starting minutes, but he will get playing time from the bench. I honestly hope he can provide assists, but I am just counting on the work rate from him.

Carles Gil is welcomed back into the squad the last month of the season after being out for most of it with an Achilles injury/ bone spur surgery. With these matches being more pre-season for him than anything else, he looked solid in creating offense for the Revolution. The last time he faced Montreal, he created 15 scoring chances (per fbref.com, check them out!). Expect huge things from him in terms of time and creation in the playoffs. He could be the final piece to unlock the offense.

Tommy McNamara came in mid-season and has become a steady player for the Revs. He always looks to pass before shot and has one of the four midfield assists this season. McNamara has played in a defensive midfield position and a winger, and a more creative team role. He has a very high work rate and continues to impress whenever he comes in from the bench or is in the starting eleven, depending on how the Revs line up in the playoffs to either start or be a critical substitute, hopefully adding an assist or two.

Lee Nguyen came in as a mid-season acquisition and has provided depth and creativity to the midfield. Contributing one of the two goals from the midfield, all be it from the spot, he also contributed one assist. For someone who came into the team as having played only 90 minutes the whole year, he has become an excellent impact sub and added creativity when started. I can see the Revolution starting him and Gil together if they want to go more offensive, but I expect him to contribute from the bench. Hoping for a couple of assists from him and maybe a goal.

Matt Polster – Since acquisition from Rangers before his red card and subsequent concussion, Matt Polster had a significant impact. He added steal and aggressiveness on the defensive side of the ball. Polster worked hard and led the press often to good effect in his role as a defensive midfield. He also contributed with one assist. I expect him to come off the bench as defensive reinforcement late in games, but I hope he gets in from the stat because it could free up the Revolution to play a more fluid and attacking line.

Kelyn Rowe gives me fits when trying to preview him for the playoffs. He started to fill the number eight role of box to box midfielder with creativity but has become more of a late cameo player. His passing and vision are usually excellent, plus Rowe can hit a shot from distance. Hoping he gets minutes off the bench and maybe ships in a goal or assist or two.