While Major League Soccer kicked off the opening round of the playoffs this week, the New England Revolution began their offseason by securing the full transfers of two starting players today.
Per team release, the club has purchased the contracts of both Cristian Penilla and Luis Caicedo after both players featured in the starting lineup as loanees during the 2018 season.
Penilla, voted the team’s MVP, scored 12 goals along with 7 assists to lead the team while starting 33 games. Caicedo joined the team in March and made 29 starts while playing the fifth highest minutes on the team with nearly 2600 minutes played and adding one goal and four assists.
Penilla had a base salary of $500,000 with total compensation of $550,000 while Caicedo banked $300,000 total according to the MLS Players Association salary guide. It is unknown if either will see a raise going into next season though the team did use TAM to acquire Penilla on the original loan.
While there should not have been much doubt on New England finalizing these two deals, much work remains in the offseason as the Revs continue to need to bolster the roster and backline in particular. The Revs revolving door at centerback the last few years despite spending significantly at the position remains an issue as well as the lack of high-end Designated Player talent.
New England might have hit on the international market with Caicedo and Penilla but appear to have missed on supposed starters Gabriel Somi and Wilfried Zahibo as well as midseason replacements Guillermo Hauche and Cristhian Machado. The Revs also have struggled to develop drafted players and get homegrowns Zachary Herivaux and Issac Angking (who missed most of 2018 with an illness) onto the field.
Based on their 2018 finish in the standings, the Revs will have the 9th 11th picks in the MLS SuperDraft in January, their natural selection and the Whitecaps’ first round pick following the Kei Kamara trade. Expansion side FC Cincinnati will pick first.
This is a good and expected first step for New England for the 2018/19 offseason and hopefully more good news will follow in the coming weeks.