The 2020 New England Revolution pre-season is nearly here. On January 18th, the Revolution players will report to the teams new training center at 1776 Revolution Way to start their preseason workouts.
New England will be working out of the new training center up until February 5th when they will depart to the West Coast. On the West Coast the Revolution will play the LA Galaxy and Colorado Rapids in Los Angeles before heading up to Oregon to face off with Minnesota United, Vancouver WhiteCaps, and the Portland Timbers.
All five preseason matches are in preparation for the league opener on February 29th at the Montreal Impact.
This format is a stark contrast to last year when the then Brad Friedel led Revolution played foreign teams in Spain before heading to Florida to take on MLS opponents. In the 2020 version you have the benefit of playing an MLS caliber opponent and since they are all Western Conference teams there isn’t a large concern of gaining familiarity.
Current Revolution Roster Heading into 2020 training camp:
Goalkeepers: Matt Turner, Brad Knighton
Defenders; Seth Sinovic, Andrew Farrell, Antonio Delamea, DeJuan Jones, Brandon Bye, Alexander Buttner, Michael Mancienne, and Samba Camara.
Midfield: Carles Gil, Diego Fagundez, Wilfred Zahibo, Kelyn Rowe, Luis Caicedo, Scott Caldwell, Issac Angking, Damien Rivera, Nicolas Firmino
Forwards: Gustavo Bou, Teal Bunbury, Adam Buksa, Justin Rennicks, Tajon Buchanan, Christian Penilla
Here are a few things to watch out for and look forward to during preseason action:
Flow of the offense….
New England has a number of returning attacking options including Teal Bunbury, Gustavo Bou, and Carles Gil. The unknown on offense is how will the new pieces slot into place.
New England’s third Designated Player is a 23-year-old forward named Adam Buksa who has seven goals and four assists this season in 18 games in the top tier of Polish Soccer.
In addition to adding Buksa the Revolution have beefed up their midfield by adding MLS veteran Kelyn Rowe who has a history of being a proven offensive threat with 29 goals and 42 assists in 229 career games. Another name that is worth keeping an eye on is Diego Fagundez. Fagundez didn’t have the greatest season in 2019 but he is just a few years removed from an 9-goal 10-assist season in 2018.
Overall it will be fascinating to see not only what formation the Revolution attack takes but what personnel they use to do it. With the addition of Buksa and a full season of Bou on tap allowing Carles Gil to shift exclusively into a playmaker role can really open up what the Revs are able to do on the attack.
Back-up Goalkeeper battle….
Ultimately every roster battle in training camp is fascinating. But this years back-up goalkeeper spot could be an interesting one. Unlike last season the number one spot is locked up by Matt Turner who will spend the bulk of the early training camp days up with the national team.
This will open up an unusual amount of time for the back-ups to get extended runs. Last season the Revolution signed Brad Knighton to a contract extension over Cody Cropper and that extension was certainly earned.
Cropper ended up being loaned out to Hartford Athletic with Knighton serving as Turners backup down the stretch. Knighton’s position as back-up is likely solidified but the real interest now is who will be Revolution II’s goalkeeper in USL League One play? As of right now on New England’s “Official Roster” they have only Turner and Knighton listed.
New England did retain the rights of Jeff Caldwell in the year-end MLS waiver draft but have yet to sign the former University of Virginia star. So essentially the other shoe has yet to drop when it comes to the Revolution’s goalkeeping situation.
In the academy the Revolution do have a very talented keeper in Eliot Jones who at sixteen years old is one of the better American keepers in his age group having earned a call-up to the U-16 USMNT.
Young Players Improvement Potential……
The player that I personally have my eye on is Tajon Buchanan. Buchanan, a Generation Adidas player that was drafted in the first round of last years MLS SuperDraft showed incredible pace and a 1-v-1 ability that is downright impressive. It is unclear if Buchanan will see action with the Revs first team right out of the gate but I would’t be shocked in 2020 is his breakout year.
Other players to watch are Justin Rennicks, Nicolas Firmino, and Damien Rivera. Thankfully for Revolution fans this year they won’t have to watch these talents play on ESPN+ in the USL Championship. New England with their own USL League One side will allow for closer guidance and for home fans to get a look at the next generation of the first team.
As for young first team players who should be taking the next step forward fans can look towards Brandon Bye and DeJuan Jones. Jones however will have to fight to get minutes given the additions of Alexander Buttner and Seth Sinovic to the back-line. That being said Jones could push up into the midfield given his skillset.
Last season Bruce Arena and company came into a team that was already half-way through an MLS season. This time around the legendary coach will have a whole off-season to install his system.
This sort of ties into the flow of the offense but overall it will be incredibly interesting on how Arena puts all of these new pieces together.