The last couple of years have not been so kind to the New England Revolution. From coaching changes to struggles on the field, the Revs have missed out on the playoffs each of the last three seasons.
New England is going into year two of the Jay Heaps era. Once again the Revs enter a new season with a decent amount of change in the roster. Heaps and the Revs made some serious splashes earlier this by trading up in the MLS SuperDraft to snag Andrew Ferrell at the top pick. Bold moves like that have at least made the Revs a talking point this offseason.
But have the moves been enough to get them back in the hunt in the Eastern Conference?
2012 MLS Record: 9-17-8 (9th in Eastern Conference), 35 points
M Andy Dorman (11/15/12 – Right of first refusal signing on free transfer from Crystal Palace)
M Kalifa Cissé (11/19/12 – Discovery signing on free transfer from Bristol City)
F Chad Barrett (12/14/12 – Re-Entry Draft Stage 2)
M Scott Caldwell (12/21/12 – Homegrown)
D José Gonçalves (01/04/13 – loan from FC Sion)
D Andrew Farrell (1/17/13 – SuperDraft)
F Matt Horth (1/25/13 – free)
D Bilal Duckett (2/11/13 – free)
F Blake Brettschneider (11/19/12 – option declined)
D Flo Lechner (11/19/12 – option declined)
M Alec Purdie (11/19/12 – option declined)
M Michael Roach (11/19/12 – option declined)
M Fernando Cárdenas (11/30/12 – option declined)
M Blair Gavin (11/30/12 – option declined)
GK Tim Murray (11/30/12 – option declined)
M Benny Feilhaber (12/11/12 – traded to Sporting KC)
Key Questions for 2013
1. Is there enough offense to go around? Let’s face it, the last couple of seasons the offense has been one of the real issues in New England. To me, ever since the day Taylor Twellman wasn’t able to contribute due to concussions the Revs have lacked a serious bite in their attack. Last year the Revs went out and got Saer Sene and Jerry Bengston. Both are good players and can contribute but Sene has been battling injuries and Bengston will likely miss plenty of time with Honduras this year as they vie to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.
So what does New England do? They add a guy in Chad Barrett to the attack. Rookie Donnie Smith is another option off the bench and has shown well this preseason too. But is all of that really going to be enough in a conference that is very deep? I’m not so sure they have the attack to do any damage not to mention they don’t really have a true playmaker in the midfield that can set up their strikers. Andy Dorman is back and while he will help the attack, I just don’t see it being a big impact right away.
2. With all the new additions, is the defense really any better? I’ve been a fan of some of the individual players on the New England defense here. AJ Soares is a quality player. Kevin Altson is also capable and has done his quality already in his young career. The top pick Andrew Ferrell is also good but he’s still a rookie. While the Revs are youthful in the back, I do believe they will be better than we’ve seen out of the last couple of seasons.
3. How loose is the rope that Jay Heaps is on? I may touch on this later on but if I had to pick one coach that could be in the danger zone going into this season (in terms of landing the dreaded pink slip), it would be Heaps. With a lot of big gambles this winter like drafting up to get Ferrell and taking other risks here and there on their roster (do you really need that many midfielders?), I have to think that if some how things got away from the Revs early enough in this season he could be facing some serious heat.
Breakout Player for 2013
Diego Fagundez – While the young Homegrown has been with the Revs for a couple of seasons now, I believe this is the year we finally see him truly break out and play a larger role. I know I harped on their lack of offense but this kid could make me change that thought process really quickly if he comes out firing like I think he could this season.
Predictions for 2013
- Struggle out of the gates. I have to admit, I see the Revs struggling early in the season here. The first part of their schedule is not favorable as they face four 2012 playoff teams in their first six games. Not to mention they are on the road for four of those first six.
- The Revs will fight to stay in contention until the late summer. I don’t see this as a playoff team just yet, but hear me out, I do think they’ll be competitive at some point this season. Things will click and injures will go away which will lead to this club winning a few more games.