Quite a bit has gone down with the Revolution since Nov. 8, when the club made Cranston, RI native Damian Rivera their seventh Homegrown signing. Nov. 8 was also my last story with my former employer.
That being said, let’s take quickie refresh of the happening down at Patriot Place, and we’ll take a look at the Revs’ roster while we’re at it:
Revs re-sign DeJuan Jones and Brandon Bye
The week after New England signed defender Alexander Büttner on a TAM contract and signed Rivera, the club re-signed two players from the 2019 team in DeJuan Jones and Brandon Bye, doing so three days apart. Both will occupy senior roster slots in 2020.
Jones had an outstanding rookie season for the Route 1 outfit, playing in 20 games and seeing quite a bit of time in the lineup, mainly at left back. Drafted 11th overall in January — and as a midfielder, for that matter — Jones scored once and added an assist in his rookie campaign, taking over at left back for Edgar Castillo during the latter stages of the season.
But what Jones will be remembered for in his initial season was the 80-yard run against Montreal, tracking back to dispossess and keep that match scoreless.
Bye finished up his second season in New England in October, where he was second in minutes played. He played almost exclusively at right back in 2019, moving into that slot in May and rarely moving out of it. He had 88 clearances, also good enough for second on the team.
It is, of course, much too early to say just what kind of an impact Jones and Bye will have on the 2020 season, but we have no trouble at all with them being on the 2020 roster. Obviously, Bruce Arena saw something in them which made him want to keep these two young men on for another season.
Before the signing of Samba Camara just before Christmas, we thought Bye had right back on lockdown. But with Camara in the fold, we’re thinking Andrew Farrell goes back to his old position.
And both can play midfield, too.
Jalil Anibaba heads to Nashville SC in Expansion Draft
The same day the Revs re-signed Bye, they lost defender Jalil Anibaba to MLS 2020 newboys Nashville SC in the Expansion Draft.
The 31-year-old Anibaba was a workhorse here in New England. The way he slid across the plastic pasture to deny attackers, then punching the air and giving a blood-curdling scream will always be remembered with fondness amongst a great deal of Revs Colony.
Over the second half of the 2019 season, though, he was a depth piece, one which will need filling by season’s start.
New England received $50,000 in General Allocation money for the selection as compensation.
Roster moves made on Nov. 21, add Jeff Caldwell, re-sign Mancienne on Nov 25
Two days after the Expansion Draft, the Revolution announced their year-end roster moves, and suffice it to say, there were few surprises.
New England exercised contract options on eight players: Isaac Angking, Teal Bunbury, Luis Caicedo, Antonio Delamea, Diego Fagundez, Andrew Farrell, Cristian Penilla, and Wilfried Zahibo. In addition, 10 players were already under contract for 2020: Gustavo Bou, Tajon Buchanan, Bye, Scott Caldwell, Nicolas Firmino, Carles Gil, Jones, Brad Knighton, Justin Rennicks, and Matt Turner.
The following players did not have their contract options exercised: Juan Agudelo, Juan Fernando Caicedo, Edgar Castillo, Michael Mancienne, and Brian Wright. Agudelo was picked up in the Re-Entry Draft by Toronto FC, and the club would eventually re-sign Mancienne. Cody Cropper and Zachary Herivaux will be out of contract on Dec. 31, and will be free to sign elsewhere. Cropper spent the second half of the 2019 campaign on loan in Hartford, and Herivaux played on loan in Birmingham.
Mancienne was re-signed to a contract on Nov. 25, but not only that, the Revs picked up goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell in the Waiver Draft that day, trading up in the order with Orlando City. Caldwell has not signed a contract as of yet.
Revs II unveiled, Peay named manager
Nov. 25 was a rather busy day, given the signing of Mancienne and the selection of Caldwell. The club also unveiled the logo for Revolution II, the USL League One club which will start play this coming season, and also named Clint Peay the manager of the club.
According to the team release, Peay brings more than 17 years of coaching experience to the task of launching the third-division professional side, which will enhance the Revolution’s development pipeline and bridge the gap between the Revolution Academy and first team.
The 46-year-old worked in 2019 with Dave Sarachan at North Carolina FC in the USL Championship.
Kelyn Rowe returns
On the morning of Dec. 4, WPRO Radio’s Tom Quinlan posted a tweet hinting at a new Revolution signing, with a GIF of regatta-like boats rowing away.
Later that afternoon, the Revolution announced that it had signed free agent midfielder Kelyn Rowe to a contract. Rowe had left New England a year ago for Sporting Kansas City via Colorado in the trade that brought Edgar Castillo to Foxborough, and he would end up finding his way to Real Lake Salt midway through the 2019 season.
It will be interesting to see how Arena uses Rowe, given that Rowe played for Arena briefly as a member of the US National Team in 2017. We happen to think that he’ll be hungry to prove that he’s still a top-flight player, given how he spent a good chunk of 2019 in USL.
Training Center opens
On Dec. 9, Revolution investor/operators Robert and Jonathan Kraft along with Arena and club president Brian Bilello cut the ribbon on the $35 million training facility that had been in the works since the beginning of the 2018 season.
The facility is to the south of the Patriot Place south mall, as well as to the south of Gillette Stadium proper. Its address is 1776 Revolution Way.
Seth Sinovic returns
On Dec. 17, the Revolution announced they have signed experienced free agent left back Seth Sinovic to a contract, ending their pursuit of in-league free agents. Sinovic, a 2010 MLS SuperDraft choice by New England, has spent the last nine years with Sporting Kansas City, and marks the second former Rev player to return to Route 1 for another stint.
It also gives the Revs plenty of depth at left back, between Sinovic, Büttner, and Jones. Sinovic, of course, is incredibly experienced and helped Sporting Kansas City become a solid team during his tenure in the Blue Hell. His tracking back, when out there, is good. Left back is, for the foreseeable future, in good hands.
A third DP?
The week before Christmas saw rumors regarding the Revs wanting to sign a third designated player. That turned out to be Adam Buksa, a Polish striker whose signing was made official on Friday, Dec. 20.
Buksa scored 22 goals in 52 appearances with Polish side Pogón Szczecin in a season and a half.
In what little film I’ve seen on Buksa, I’m impressed. He has range, a strong right… and if he can connect and score, we may see some great things come late February.
Two days before Christmas, the Revolution announced they had signed French defender Samba Camara from Ligue 2 side Le Havre. Bruce Arena commented that Camara “will add quality and depth to our centerback positions.”
He is a TAM signing, and joins Farrell, Mancienne, and Delamea as center backs.