It’s been a few days since the Revolution announced their season-end roster decisions, where we found out which players are under contract, which players had their options, picked up, declined, or who is out of contract.
As of Saturday afternoon, the Revolution have not introduced any new signings to the club; we’re not expecting anything until the middle of this coming week at the earliest. And as it stands, New England has 18 players on its 2021 roster.
We break down the depth chart as follows:
As you can see, I have the chart in a 4-2-3-1 formation, which the Revs played in toward the end of the season. All of the most recent starters during the playoffs were retained, and I have them in the positions where they finished the season; the only exception is DeJuan Jones, who I have listed as a backup to Alexander Büttner. If this is where Bruce Arena has everyone next season, fantastic. You will notice that I have Tajon Buchanan at right back. Arena may not consider TB17 a right back in 2021.
Needs: Depth across all areas
Even with some depth in the defending at the start of the 2020 campaign, the fan base quickly realized that the depth was there only on paper. Antonio Delamea had a ‘mare against DC United in Orlando, and Michael Mancienne found himself blown away by Maxi Urrutti in the season opener. The starting back line of Büttner, Henry Kessler, Andrew Farrell, and Brandon Bye handled things for most of 2020, with Jones sliding into left back occasionally, and Buchanan at right back at the end.
While that back line is pretty steady, we’d like to see additional depth, especially at center back. While we are high on Collin Verfurth and would like to see him get minutes in the preseason, it wouldn’t hurt to have another center back to challenge Kessler, or one that’s flexible enough to play on either side to give Kessler or Farrell — or even Verfurth — a rest, especially during the tight scheduling around the US Open Cup.
Currently at the Nos. 6 and 8, Arena has longtime mainstay Scott Caldwell at the 6 and Matt Polster at the 8. Luis Caicedo, who should be healthy when 2021 rolls around, may supplant Caldwell. We’d like to see improvement here — I know many fans have wanted improvement here since Jermaine Jones left the club in 2016 — especially in terms of a player with pace who won’t get blown by every trip up the pitch.
In the attacking half, depth is an issue here. After those front four, there really is no one else save Justin Rennicks, unless you move Buchanan up and move Bye into right back. We don’t know if Damian Rivera will play a large part in the first team, but he has skill. We’d like to see someone come in and challenge Teal Bunbury; while Teal’s experience is a godsend, we all know he can be a streaky player, and he was quite invisible offensively during the playoffs.
And we want to wrap Carles Gil and Gustavo Bou and Adam Buksa in bubble-wrap. Buksa has an understudy in Rennicks. Gil and Bou do not, at present, but there is flexibility given Buchanan’s ability to move up; the same with Jones.
And in goal, we’re pretty much all set there, right? Matt Turner and Brad Knighton are there, and while he’s not on the first-team roster, Revs II keeper Joe Rice is pretty damn good — just in case Nee England gets an overseas offer for its No. 1.
CURRENT 2021 COMPOSITE ROSTER
1 Gustavo Bou — INTL
2 Adam Buksa — INTL
3 Teal Bunbury
4 Alexander Büttner — INTL
5 Brandon Bye
6 Luis Caicedo — INTL
7 Andrew Farrell
8 Carles Gil — INTL
9 DeJuan Jones
10 Brad Knighton
11 Matt Polster
12 Matt Turner
21 Tajon Buchanan
22 Scott Caldwell
23 Henry Kessler
25 Collin Verfurth
29 Justin Rennicks
30 Damian Rivera
Currently, New England has five of eight International slots occupied.