A darkhorse heading into the playoffs that got healthy at the right time, New England showed they can hang with the East’s elite teams when at full strength. And Bruce Arena again showcased his playoff pedigree.
The Revs head into 2021 looking for more regular season success, led by their attacking trio of Carles Gil, Gustavo Bou and Adam Buksa.
- MLS Reg. Season: 8th place in the Eastern Conference (32 pts - 1.39 PPG - 8-8-7, +1 GD)
- Audi MLS Cup Playoffs: Eliminated in Eastern Conference final by Columbus Crew SC, 1-0
One of the best players in the league, Gil was heavily missed in 2020 when unavailable for most of the season due to injury. When he came back, New England were a completely different team. The 2019 Newcomer of the Year is a Best XI candidate.
Bou’s regular season stats struggled a bit without Gil, scoring just five goals in 18 appearances, but the Designated Player was hot in the playoffs, with three goals in four games.
The Revs’ No. 1 has gotten votes for Goalkeeper of the Year in each of the past two seasons and is regarded as the best pure shotstopper in the league by many. He’s bailed his side out on a number of occasions.
Young Player to Watch
The 2019 first round SuperDraft selection enjoyed a strong performance at the Olympic qualifying tournament and will look to use that as a springboard to the MLS regular season.
- Wilfrid Kaptoum: New England were light in central midfield in 2020 but addressed that immediately this winter. Kaptoum was a regular with Barcelona B and heads to MLS at the beginning of his prime.
- Christian Mafla: Mafla is expected to be the club’s first choice left back after signing from Atletico Nacional. The 28-year-old made more than 190 professional appearances during 10 season in South America.
- Arnor Ingvi Traustason: The Iceland international was acquired to add competition and depth to an already strong attack. Traustason spent the last few years with Swedish champions Malmo, scoring 17 goals and adding 20 assists in 107 appearances.
- Diego Fagundez: After a decade with the Revs, Fagundez departs, signing with Austin FC. Still just 26-years-old, Fagundez made 261 appearances in New England, though his influence on the team declined over the last few seasons.
- Cristian Penilla: Penilla’s contract option was declined following the season, thus ending the winger’s three-year stay with the club. He had no goals and three assists in 17 appearances (10 starts) last year.
Projected Starting XI
- Goalkeepers (3): Earl Edwards Jr., Brad Knighton, Matt Turner
- Defenders (8): Jon Bell, Brandon Bye, A.J. DeLaGarza, Andrew Farrell, DeJuan Jones, Henry Kessler, Christian Mafla, Colin Verfurth
- Midfielder (10): Emmanuel Boateng, Luis Caicedo, Scott Caldwell, Carles Gil, Wildrid Kaptoum, Maciel, Tommy McNamara, Matt Polster, Danian Rivera, Arnon Ingvi Trastason
- Forwards (6): Gustavo Bou, Tajon Buchanan, Adam Buksa, Teal Bunbury, Edward Kizza, Justin Rennicks
Armchair Analyst's Breakdown
- Strength: An already-good team got both better and deeper thanks to a busy offseason in the transfer window, and in Carles Gil they’ve got one of the best central midfielders in the league to build around. They’ve also got a match-winner in goal in Turner.
- Weakness: It’s not clear that Adam Buksa is the type of center forward who can lead the line for an MLS Cup winner, and it’s even less clear that Buksa and Bou together are an asset in games against the best team in the league — as the Eastern Conference final against the Crew showed.
- Charles Boehm: 7th in East
- Tom Bogert: 2nd in East
- Susannah Collins: 4th in East
- Charlie Davies: 2nd in East
- Matthew Doyle: 3rd in East
- Sam Jones: 2nd in East
- Michael Lahoud: 4th in East
- Joe Lowery: 3rd in East
- Jillian Sakovits: 3rd in East
- Greg Seltzer: 2nd in East
- Steve Zakuani: 3rd in East