New England Revolution
Author: Dave Zeitlin | Cover illustration by Duane Tomaszewski
The Revolution found themselves in an unfamiliar position at the end of the 2016 regular season: out for the playoffs. Despite a late push, the Revs finished in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, missing out on the final postseason spot by virtue of the tiebreaker — the club’s first playoff-less season since 2012. But a couple of key upgrades, particularly on defense, have the Revolution hopeful for a turnaround in 2017.
Key Offseason Transactions
|KEY PLAYERS IN:||KEY PLAYERS OUT:|
|Benjamin Angoua (D)|
Antonio Mlinar Delamea (M) All transactions
|Jose Goncalves (D)|
Darrius Barnes (D)
Bobby Shuttleworth (GK)
Gershon Koffie (F)
Player to watch: Juan Agudelo
Agudelo has been a consistent offensive player when healthy, scoring seven goals for the Revolution in each of the past three seasons after coming over in a 2014 trade with Chivas USA. But the Revs have good reason to believe he can do a lot more than that in 2017, considering he scored four goals in the last seven games of the 2016 campaign — which earned him a return call to the US national team in January. And he's still only 24.
How they'll play
HEAD COACH - JAY HEAPS
After going with a 4-2-3-1 formation for most of his tenure in New England, Heaps' switch to a 4-4-2 diamond drastically improved the team's fortunes last season. He'll likely stick with that this season while relying on DP newcomer Xavier Kouassi, who missed all of last season with injury and has yet to make his MLS debut, to add a strong foundation at the base of the midfield.
Project Starting XI
4-4-2, right to left: Cody Cropper (GK) — Andrew Farrell (D), Antonio Mlinar Delamea (D), Benjamin Angoua (D), Chris Tierney (D) — Xavier Kouassi (M), Scott Caldwell (M), Kelyn Rowe (M), Juan Agudelo (F) – Lee Nguyen (M/F), Kei Kamara (F)
9th in Eastern Conference. The Revs certainly feature a talented attacking core in Agudelo, Kei Kamara, Lee Nguyen and Kelyn Rowe. But can they figure out the attacking problems that caused them to finish with only 44 goals last season — the second lowest total in the Eastern Conference? And is it too much to ask of new center backs Benjamin Angoua and Antonio Mlinar Delamea to stabilize a defense in front of young goalkeeper Cody Cropper?