Attackers aplenty. Defenders a question. Welcome to your 2019 New England Revolution.
Year two of the Brad Friedel era will see the Revs look to snap their three-year postseason drought after missing out by nine points last season thanks to a second-half fade.
As has been the case in recent years with the club, it wasn’t all bad, but it simply wasn’t good enough, as the Revs scored the seventh-most goals in the East and allowed the eighth most.
Attack was the focus this winter as the team brought in Carles Gil and Juan Fernando Caicedo to join a group that features Diego Fagundez, Cristian Penilla, Juan Agudelo and Teal Bunbury. With youngsters Justin Rennicks and Tajon Buchanan, Friedel has plenty of options up front – if he can find playing time for them all.
Defense will feature a newcomer in former United States international Edgar Castillo, who joins a backline that has designated player Michael Mancienne and veteran Andrew Farrell among Friedel's preferred options. Can he help further stabilize that defense? And can the former United States national team goalkeeper find a consistent No.1 of his own?
The answer to those questions will go a long way toward deciding if the Revolution snap their playoff drought, or have it extended to four years.
How did the New England Revolution perform in 2018?
2018 finish: Eighth in the Eastern Conference (10-13-11), missed playoffs
The Revolution missed out on the postseason by nine points in 2018 after a strong start to the season, followed by a second-half fade that left them well short of the postseason once again.
New England Revolution’s key offseason losses
After seven seasons with the Revolution, the versatile Kelyn Rowe was traded away in a deal to net left back Edgar Castillo. Rowe had lined up at that position, along with all over the midfield, but his 18 starts in 2018 were the fewest of his career to date. He ultimately landed with Sporting KC.
Long-time left back Chris Tierney called it career after 11 seasons in MLS, all with the Revolution.
Former captain Claude Dielna had his option declined and was traded to Portland after he found himself out of the 18 for most of the final few months of the season.
Guillermo Hauche was a late-season addition last year, but his four games with the club will be it, as has not been brought back. Neither was Cristhian Machado, despite the Revolution’s long pursuit of the midfielder, who returned to Bolivia after just three appearances.
Femi Hollinger-Janzen also had his contract declined, as did Nicolas Samayoa, the latter of whom never made an MLS appearance for the club.
New England Revolution’s key offseason additions
The Revolution splashed around $2 million to land 26-year-old midfielder Carles Gil from Deportivo La Coruna of Spain’s second division. He's expected to be a playmaker, but his talent has arguably yet to match his production and the Revs will hope the move to MLS unlocks it.
Forward Juan Fernando Caicedo joins on loan from Independiente Medellin in his native Colombia, where he scored 11 goals in 42 league games in 2018.
Former United States international Edgar Castillo arrives in Colorado, the haul for the Revs in the Kelyn Rowe trade after a strong season in Colorado.
The MLS SuperDraft saw the Revs add forward Tajon Buchanan, while the club also signed U.S. youth international Justin Rennicks and Brazilian Nicolas Firmino to homegrown player contracts.
Friedel indicated in February the club wasn’t done, and was targeting another designated player, so there may be another addition before the start of the season.
Full New England Revolution roster entering 2019 season
Goalkeepers: Cody Cropper, Brad Knighton, Matt Turner
Defenders: Jalil Anibaba, Brandon Bye, Edgar Castillo, Antonio Mlinar Delamea, Andrew Farrell, Michael Mancienne, Gabriel Somi
Midfielders: Isaac Angking, Luis Caicedo, Scott Caldwell, Diego Fagundez, Nicolas Firmino, Zachary Herivaux, Wilfried Zahibo
Forwards: Juan Agudelo, Tajon Buchanan, Teal Bunbury, Juan Fernando Caicedo, Carles Gil, Cristian Penilla, Justin Rennicks, Brian Wright
New England Revolution’s projected starting lineup
The Revs played with only one striker most of the time last season, frequently lining up in a 4-2-3-1. Given the continuity in coaching, it wouldn’t be surprising to see that continue.
The team’s two big offseason signings will likely be given the chance to star in attack with Caicedo in as the No.9 and Carles Gil in behind as the No.10. Diego Fagundez and Cristian Penilla, who scored 12 goals in his debut MLS campaign last year, will complete the attack, with Juan Agudelo and Teal Bunbury in reserve.
The Revolution used their purchase option on defensive midfielder Luis Alberto Caicedo after he started 29 games last year. Longtime Rev Scott Caldwell will line up beside him when Friedel opts for two holding midfielders.
Michael Mancienne locked down a spot after joining midseason while Antonio Mlinar Delamea might have a slight edge over Jalil Anibaba to line up beside him. The center backs will be flanked by Andrew Farrell and Castillo.
Matt Turner started 27 MLS games in goal last year for the Revolution but was up and down as the year went on and may end up losing out to Cody Cropper or Brad Knighton.