May is the month where the New England Revolution came alive. Prior to that, the Revs looked to be struggling to live up to expectations and unable to get their house in order in terms of starting personnel and formation. After a 4-1-0 record in that month, the Revs went into June in first place in the East with one of the hottest offenses MLS had ever seen over that period. The difference in all of this? Jay Heaps elected to use Patrick Mullins as a center-forward, and the rookie paid huge dividends. That's why he's The Bent Musket's Player of the Month for May.
The Revolution's major success in May can be traced (partially, at least) back to one major move: bringing Patrick Mullins back into the lineup and moving him to center-forward, while pushing Teal Bunbury out wide. The rookie has taken to the role like a fish to water, using his size and movement to menace defenses and create space for his teammates. In addition, he's shown predatory instincts in front of goal, scoring both good goals (see Toronto, Philadelphia), poacher's goals (see Seattle), and some that are a mix (see D.C.). He's slowed down coming into the month of June, but if he can at least keep up the hard work and excellent hold-up play, he can help the Revs go real far in 2014.
Nick: If you didn't know better, you just may regard Mullins as a seasoned veteran. Why? Because he appears so finely tuned and fully developed, helping his side keep possession while scoring goals--and lots of them. His memorable 4-game, 4-goal run exposed everything Jay Heaps needed in a target striker: strength and physicality, the ability to create space, a nose for the goal and, most importantly, the capacity to score from a number of spots in the attacking third. And, to top it all off, his role has opened the door for Teal Bunbury to excel on the wing. Yes, May will forever go down as Mullins' month.
Corey: ROOKIE OF THE YEAR - That's right, Patrick Mullins is the clear winner of this prestigious TBM Player of the Month award. Who would have thought that a two-year M.A.C. Hermann Trophy winner would be good at soccer? Seriously though, Mullins was the key to unlocking the Revolution attack in the month of May, propelling them to four straight victories and straight up the MLS standings. Not only that, but he made those around him better, namely Diego Fagundez and Teal Bunbury who were both otherwise stuttering out of the gate in the 2014 season. There's good reason to believe that Mullins still has more to offer this season, and I for one can't wait for him to win Rookie of the Year when it's all said and done.
Matty: It's simply a unanimous decision, I feel. The Revolution started clicking when Mullins was inserted back into the starting lineup, and it's no coincidence. By placing Mullins up top, Teal Bunbury was opened up on the flank to tear down the sideline and wreak havoc with his speed and strength which has given defenses nightmares. Mullins has succeeded due to his vision, and great link-up play with his counterparts on the wing.
Patrick's Line: 5 appearances, 5 starts, 4 goals, 450 minutes played, 18 points in TBM PotM voting
Diego Fagundez, 9 points: This is the Fagundez that we all know and love, the one that is rampaging down the wings on the counter attack and not only scoring but setting up teammates as well. The reason I give the edge to Mullins is solely expectations, I expect Diego to play at this level on a regular basis while Mullins was an extremely pleasant surprise. Too often Diego fails to have an impact on the game, let alone the score sheet and when he's on the top of his game, the Revolution are a different team. - Jake
Chris Tierney, 9 points: Defenders simply don't get enough love. The 5 goal explosions that the Revs had against Seattle and Philadelphia were instigated by Tierney as signature crosses were used to create the first goal in both games. These goals opened up space, which the Revs ultimately capitalized on. Let's not forget the Tiernaldo also scored a beautiful free kick against the Union. - Seth
The Player of the Month is compiled by members of The Bent Musket's staff. Each writer selects his top three Revolution players for the month, who are assigned point values - three points for the #1, two for the #2, and one for the #3. Then, points are totaled and the player who received the most points in the voting is named Player of the Month. Honorable mentions go to the next two players in the voting.