Heading into a massive early season matchup with Minnesota, Brad Friedel called a “closed-door” team meeting following three straight losses where he called for greater effort. A day earlier, Friedel told the media in a post-match press conference that no relegation and no outside pressure on players breeds complacency and lack of motivation in MLS. These comments caught the attention fans and writers not only in New England but nationally as well. The Revs Head Coach was consistently ridiculed and called out over the course of the week, bringing all eyes onto how he fares vs Minnesota.
Friedel made 6 changes to the lineup, dropping GK Brad Knighton and Winger Cristian Penilla from the 18 all together. In their places were Cody Cropper, who hadn’t made a start in goal since September of 2017 and rookie Dejuan Jones. The Revolution came out hot, scoring within the first 10 minutes from a diving header by Jalil Anibaba, another change in the XI. Minnesota equalized off a PK but in the second half, New England dominated the game and held Minnesota to few chances. For the first time in 2019, the Revs scored a goal that didn’t directly involve Carles Gil as Teal Bunbury and Dejuan Jones notched assists on a Brandon Bye, bad angle tap-in.
In his post-match press conference and interview, Friedel didn’t hesitate to call out the people who had called him out previously. “With a lot of grief of got this week and with a lot of ‘experts’ who apparently know my team better than I know my team” Friedel told NBCSB regarding comments by journalists made throughout the week.
But, one win doesn’t fix everything and doesn’t shut the doubters up completely, the next 3 weeks will prove whether or not Friedel is truly capable of motivating his players in a league with no external pressure according to him. The Revolution will travel to Columbus before returning home to host the Red Bulls and defending MLS Cup Champions Atlanta United in the biggest set of matches so far in the young season.
It’s been just about two years since the Revs bid to build a Soccer Specifc Stadium at Bayside Expo Cetner died. With the support of Gov. Baker and Mayor Walsh, the Revolution need to act quickly to overcome the NIMBY culture of Boston if they wish to build within the city. This brings up the question: “where?”
Located right along the Red Line, between the South End and South Boston, Frontage Road is one of the most highly contested pieces of real estate in Boston. Back in 2015, it was reported the Krafts were interested in acquiring a portion of city-owned land to build a Soccer Specifc Stadium. Eventually, this plan faded away but the recent discussions about opening the land to developers has sparked speculation again. Widett Circle, pictured in the bottom left above, is currently up for sale by its owners but there has been no rumors as to who is intersted. A stadium in this area is determined on whether the Krafts purchase Widett Circle, the city puts the land up for bidding by developers or if they decides to create a flood plain/park. Bayside, Womderland, Suffolk Downs, CSX yard.
Bayside Expo Center
Although the Kraft's bid for the now demolished Bayside Expo Center was turned down by owners UMass, the school still has not sold the vacant land. Currently, the main concern about the site is traffic issues due to the infamous Kosciuszko Circle meaning any proposal would have to include a plan to relieve the area of further issues. A new, revised proposal from the Krafts that alleviates traffic concerns by encouraging fans to park and ride via the T (funding infrastructure) could increase the odds of the stadium plan being accepted by the school and neighbors.
Revere is not an ideal location for a stadium but it is home to two obvious sites for a stadium. The first being Suffolk Downs (pictured) which is currently owned by HYM as they plan to redevelop the land into a massive commercial, residential and business hub. These types of master plans very rarely come into full fruition and considering this plan was heavily dependent on Amazon HQ2, it is unlikely this whole new neighborhood is ever completely finished any time soon, meaning it would be perfect for the Krafts to purchase or loan a parcel of land to construct a stadium that could anchor the new development. Suffolk Downs is located adjacent to the Blue Line, as is Wonderland which is a mile north. The former hound racing track is just big enough to house a soccer stadium but it very far from the city and traffic concerns would be inevitable (just like anywhere else around Boston).
The CSX Beacon Yard, pictured above, would have made a great location for a stadium as it would be close to the Mass Pike and potentially adjacent to a new commuter rail stop but the city now plans to straighten the Mass Pike by building over the former rail yard. There is still several open plots in Allston, mostly owned by Harvard and the new route of the Turnpike would create another plot along Cambridge Street.
Sites big enough to house a soccer stadium in Boston come at a premium but if there was ever time for the Krafts to build, it's now as the support of Gov. Baker and Mayor Walsh could prove to be critical in their efforts.
Picture via Kurtis Burke (revolutionsoccer.net)
The Revolution have officially completed the first leg of their preseason with a 3-1 win against second placed Ukrainian Premier League side Dynamo Kyiv. The Revs got goals from Juan Agudelo, Carles Gil and Diego Fagundez to help them secure the result versus Kyiv, who are in the currently in their winter break, building fitness for their title race. Reportedly, it was largely a first team selection for the Ukrainians.
New England's previous three games vs Shanghai, Viktoria and Krasnodar (Draw, Draw and Loss) also presented the team with strong opposition as Viktoria and Krasnodar both are gearing up for Europa League action. The Revs most likely faced the best competition out of all other MLS clubs so far this preseason and were never completely out-played.
The Revolution will now travel to Florida for their next set of matches in Bradenton and Orlando where they will play four more matches against MLS quality opponents before their season kicks off in Dallas on March 2.
Official: New England Revolution have officially signed 26-year-old Spanish Attacking Midfielder Carles Gil who has previously played for Valencia, Elche, Aston Villa, and most recently plays for Deportivo La Coruña in the Spanish second division. After many weeks of the rumors, it’s now official. He will be meeting up with the team who are currently in Spain for upcoming friendlies and officially be announced by the club soon according to a reliable inside source.
Rumor: According to reports front England and United States, Bojan Krkić is already in negotiations with New England Revolution. He has been rumored to be joining the Revolution back in the summer of last year but the deal never went through as he wished to continue in England. Now I can confirm from an inside source that there is interest from Revolution in signing Bojan as Stoke City do not want to keep him anymore. Bojan has played for FC Barcelona, AS Roma, AC Milan, Ajax, Stoke City, Mainz 05, and Deportivo Alavés.
Rumor: According to multiple Spanish reports, New England Revolution are currently interested in 26-year-old Spanish Attacking Midfielder Charles Gil who has previously played for Valencia, Elche, Aston Villa, and most recently plays for Deportivo La Coruña in the Spanish second division.
New England’s second ever Homegrown signing, Scott Caldwell was once highly regarded as one of the most underrated players in MLS after earning praise for his role in the 2014 playoff run. He had great technique and unparalleled vision which made him the perfect connection of the defense and midfield. But, those skills rarely showed themselves in Brad Friedel’s first season in charge. Caldwell was largely used in a more defensive role to break up plays, get stuck in and lead the high press which has made his once promising abilities obsolete.
Caldwell was signed prior to the 2013 season and he immediately started 23 matches as the Revolution finished third in the East. The central midfielder displayed his passing expertise and cemented himself as a potential future USMNT player especially considering he made appearances for the YNT U14s, U15s, U17s and U18s. Caldwell had the capacity to be a Michael Bradley-esque deep lying playmaker. After greatly successful 2014 and 2015 campaigns, Scotty was scored his first goal for the Revs and tallied seven assists as he played about 4,500 minutes alongside Jermaine Jones.
It became obvious that the way to get the most out of Caldwell was allowing to receive the ball in the middle of the park so he could disperse it forward, either with long, defense breaching balls or accurate passes to the midfielders. The only way that they could give him so much freedom would be to play him alongside a strong, ball winning defensive midfielder like Jermaine Jones. For the next 2 seasons following JJ’s departure, the Revs couldn’t find the right player to replace him which not only affected the team in and of itself but it also gave Caldwell more defensive responsibility which didn’t allow him to play to his full strengths and potential.
With Brad Friedel taking over in 2018, he praised Caldwell in the beginning of the season and gave him the captains armband for a short stint of time in the summer. Friedel’s high pressing tactics would see Caldwell do much of the organizing up in the attacking half of the field where the Revolution had success early in the year winning the ball in favorable positions. But, as teams began to adapt and play around the press, Scott was forced to commit a lot of following around the midfield third to stop quick breaks.
Eventually this role would evolve even further to his playing style being completely unrecognizable. Often, he would find himself hacking at the feet of the opposition to slow them down and getting stuck in on silly tackles. Caldwell ended the season with 42 fouls, 7 yellow cards and 1 red card. Albeit, Luis Caicedo had almost double that amount of fouls with a league leading 71 but it reveals how Scotty’s evolution with the Revs hasn’t been for the better. His once promising technical ability and vision of the pitch has become underused in favor of hard tackling and quick counters. When the Revolution do indeed have possession, they are completely lost when it comes to building out of the back and ultimately they end up turning the ball over off their own mistakes. This same issue surrounding Caldwell also heavily affected Kelyn Rowe as he also racked up a career high 46 fouls in his worst season with the New England which led to his departure. Regardless of if Friedel’s system is working, Scott Caldwell needs to be utilized better or else we will have to watch as his natural ability be obscured by constant, recklessness in the midfield.
Official: New England Revolution have acquired forward Juan Fernando Caicedo on loan from Colombian side Independiente Medellín for the 2019 season with a permanent transfer option. Caicedo will be added to the active roster using either Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) or a Designated Player slot pending the receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and P-1 Visa. He will occupy an international roster slot.
Rumor: Juan Fernando Caicedo is rumored to be joining New England Revolution. According to very reliable reports coming out of Colombia, Caicedo will be heading to the US tomorrow for his medical and immediately join New England Revolution for the 2019 season.
Four years ago today the New England Revolution played and lost their fifth MLS Cup Final, their third against the LA Galaxy. Since then there has been some major roster overhaul and so let’s take a look at where the eleven players fielded by the Revolution in 2014 are in 2018.
GK: Bobby Shuttleworth | Minnesota United
Bobby was hit-or-miss among Revs fans. Either you hated him or he was your favorite player but in 2014 he was solid in goal leading up to and during New England’s playoff run. Bobby was traded in 2016 to Minnesota United in exchange for the return of recent expansion draft selection Femi Hollinger-Jansen. Shuttleworth has been the Loon’s primary keeper for the past two seasons making 58 appearances in goal and will return for a third year.
LB: Chris Tierney | Retired
Described as a homegrown before homegrowns, Chris Tierney loyally left it all out on the pitch for the Revolution for over a decade. An incredible crosser of the ball, Tierney‘s left footed ball into Charlie Davies propelled the team back to MLS Cup. There, he scored the equalizing goal late on a run all the way into the opposition 18-yard box from leftback. Unfortunately, his career ended after he tore his ACL in May 2019 and announced his retirement in November.
CB: Jose Goncalves | NorthEast United
The only international in the entire starting eleven, Goncalves was a fantastic centerback for his first 2 seasons with the Revolution but his performances steadily declined along with the Revolution’s success after 2014. He left in January of 2017 and joined NorthEast United in India.
CB: AJ Soares | Retired
AJ Soares’ departure after the 2014 season has always been regarded as one of the main reasons for New England’s downturn as they have not been able to sufficiently replace his dominance in the center of defense. He moved to Norway in 2015 but was forced to retire due to injury in 2016.
RB: Andrew Farrell | New England Revolution
Drafted first overall in 2013, Andrew was thrown into a cup final in just his second season as a professional. At the time he was highly regarded among US Soccer circles but with the defense falling apart without Soares and Goncalves, his potential would eventually diminish. Farrell had a good season in 2018 but he is still prone to making silly mistakes and costing the Revs goals.
CDM: Jermaine Jones | Retired
When Jermaine Jones was signed in the summer of 2014 it was a huge deal for the club. After a great performance at the World Cup, Jones not only brought fans into the seats but he completely turned around the team and led them to a second place finish in the East, not to mention MLS Cup. Jones left after the 2015 season due to a money dispute which seemed like a bad decision for the next 6 months but Jermaine found himself becoming injury prone and after moving to the Galaxy in 2017, he was hardly a shadow of his former self.
CDM: Scott Caldwell | New England Revolution
The Revolution’s second ever Homegrown player, Scott Caldwell had 2 terrific seasons playing alongside Jermaine Jones. His passing skill and vision of the field was unparalleled in MLS and was seen as one of the most underrated players in the league. Unfortunately, Brad Friedel has turned him into a chicken without a head and Caldwell’s role has changed from a deep-lying playmaker to a rambunctious, aggressive fouler.
LM: Kelyn Rowe | New England Revolution
Rowe had little impact in the 2014 playoffs but over the next few years his role in the team grew and grew. Kelyn was visually frustrated in 2018 after a poor campaign and as I’m writing this, it is likely that we don’t see him back with the Revs next season.
CAM: Lee Nguyen | LAFC
Despite departing in an unfortunate manor, Lee will always be regarded as one of the best Revs of all time. After being picked up off waivers in 2012, Lee rejuvenated his career, reaching his peak in 2014 with a MVP-worthy season. Nguyen sadly was substituted in MLS Cup due to injury which was a massive blow to New England’s chances.
RM: Teal Bunbury | New England Revolution
Bunbury was a very highly rated young prospect when he was drafted by Sporting KC and was able to fulfill some of his potential with the Revolution in 2014. He scored a beautiful curling goal in Red Bull Arena in the Eastern Conference Final first leg and was mere inches away from scoring in MLS Cup to give the New England a 2-1 lead. Teal led the line for the Revs in 2018 but after a hot start, dropped off in the summer.
ST: Charlie Davies | Retired
Davies is easily one of the best guys to ever wear the blue shirt. His unrelenting determination helped him lead the Revs to MLS Cup with two huge goals in the ECF second leg victory over New York. Charlie now works for the organization as Club Ambassador.
Looking back at this team, credit needs to be given to the Front Office for building such a strong, domestic roster. Lee Nguyen, Teal Bunbury and Charlie Davies were all diamonds in the rough while the acquisition of Jermaine Jones completely changed the season. If the Revs want to make it back to MLS Cup they need to be willing to spend money, especially in today’s MLS which is unbelievably different than just a few years ago. But, they also need to continue to develop young Americans both in the academy and from the draft. Bye, Angking, Caicedo and Firmino are destined to be New England’s next group of core players and if Friedel and Burns do their jobs, we could be seeing them lead another Revs team to MLS Cup.