New England Revolution

Sweeney: Five thoughts/questions as Revs end preseason

With the preseason completed following Saturday night’s 3-1 win over Portland, here are a few thoughts about the five games in two weeks the Revolution just played:

Henry Kessler played well

I vividly remember former Bruins coach Pat Burns tempering expectations of the Boston media and fan base about one Joseph Eric Thornton back in 1997-98, and I think it may be prudent to do the same with the Revolution’s first-round draft choice this year.

While Kessler has played remarkably well during the first five games of 2020, going 90 minutes in four of them, he did have one flub in the preseason opener against LA Galaxy that led to their opener. Outside of that, his decision making has been superb, his touches positive. It also doesn’t hurt that he has great communication around him; how many times did he — and we — hear his name in Wednesday’s tilt with Vancouver?

For the most part, he’s opening eyes and impressing. Still, I caution you: while it’s great to rave about the kid’s play — he’s playing with confidence, for sure — there will come the time when he will make a mistake that leads to a goal. It happens to the best of them; everyone loves Antonio Delamea, but remember his foolish red card at the start of 2018, or his foolish handle against Philadelphia later that same year? Players make mistakes. He had a rather lazy back pass that saw Brad Knighton race out and clear before it Vancouver could take advantage of the mistake; against better competition, that could have come back to bite him in the rear end.

Those things happen, and hopefully the Revolution fandom will remember that he’s just a rookie.

The Revs offense should be explosive

I know, I know: I’ve said it a lot during the last five years, that New England has a great amount of goal-scoring talent, but that talent has had difficulty in making the onion bag burp in some games.

This year, though — and I know, I’ve said it before — may be a year to remember when it comes to the offensive firepower.

Gustavo Bou had two goals against the Timbers Saturday — dear Portland, you need to mark better — giving him four goals in the preseason. Adam Buksa scored a couple. And when Carles Gil returns from his injury, that’s three players with the ability to put the ball in the back of the net with regularity.

And don’t forget Cristian Penilla, or a Diego Fagundez, or a Teal Bunbury — even though their production dropped a touch last season. They are due for rebound seasons.

Again, I know: scoring capabilities don’t always pan out. The Revs have scored, since 2015, 48, 44, 53, 49, and 50 goals in the league. All around the same spots.

Dare we say the Revs score 60 goals in 2020? Maybe more?

Is this the last go of some of the elder statesmen?

There was some sloppy play out of some of the Revs’ players that have seemingly been here since the beginning of time. Kelyn Rowe did not look particularly sharp against Vancouver on Wednesday. Bunbury had a neat layoff to set up Buksa against Minnesota United.

Outside of that… I wasn’t too impressed by their play in the preseason.

What are the chances that these players — and we’ll include Fagundez in there — are simply depth pieces now? Answers to come in October.

What to do about Simon Lekressner?

The defender out of California is the lone unsigned player from the Revs’ crop of SuperDraft selections this year; as a Generation Adidas player, Henry Kessler was automatically added to the Revolution roster, and Keegan Meyer was signed to Revs II.

That leads Lekressner, who made a few preseason appearances and has been largely invisible, save a few moments here or there.

But isn’t that what you want in your back line? To do your job without making too many errors?

It leads me to wonder: what do the Revs do with Lekressner? Sign him to be Open Cup depth? Sign him to Revs II? Or does he go elsewhere?

We should know that answer within the next few days.

So… are you excited?

Take away the two preseason losses: the first was against Galaxy who, while they didn’t have Chicharito, were in the same boat as the Revs. And the loss to Vancouver? The ‘Caps two goals were off a third-string goalkeeper who I doubt will see much playing time with the first team.

There are, as always, questions: Alexander Büttner played his first action Saturday afternoon against Portland’s U23s and went 45 minutes, so how long will it be before he can contribute? Who gets the start at left back in the interim? Will it be MLS vet Seth Sinovic, or will DeJuan Jones, who impressed as a rookie, get the nod?

When will Delamea come back, and when he does, will Andrew Farrell move back to right back? How does the defending perform against the better teams of the Eastern Conference?

Again, what role do the elder statesmen have? Spot starters or super subs?

When does Gil come back?

Will there be any reinforcements at the Nos. 6 and 8 positions?

How about the kids? Damian Rivera impressed, didn’t he?

And finally: will this team have what it takes to lift a trophy — any trophy — in 2020?

Let the games begin. Saturday afternoon cannot get here any faster.

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