The 2020 season can only be described as a rollercoaster for the New England Revolution. There were plenty of highs and plenty of lows for the club.
New England finished with a record of 8-8-7. That was good enough to get the Revs the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference. While it’s pleasing that New England is in the playoffs, that is a rather disappointing output.
New England’s attack seemed primed for success, but lackluster performances and injuries held the team back. One can only ask what if Carles Gil was healthy for the entire 2020 season? How well would New England do then?
But the 2020 season was one where Revolution fans saw some players burst onto the scene and some familiar faces had some great performances. That’s not what we are highlighting here.
So without further ado let’s get to the second award, Biggest Disappointment.
Josh - Christian Penilla
After an immaculate 2018 season, Cristian Penilla slowly fell off his stride in 2019 after only scoring 6 goals and 8 assists.
2020 was a make or break season for Penilla, and it was a total break. In his defense, a nasty foot injury did not help his chances, but prior to the injury, Penilla was far from his form in 2018.
With 0 goals and 4 assists through 962 minutes, there is only one way to describe Penilla’s 2020 season. Disappointment.
Sam - Adam Buksa
While there is definitely an argument to make for Penilla being the biggest disappointment, I have to go with Adam Buksa. The big factor being that he is New England’s third Designated Player.
The fact that Buksa ended up losing his spot in the starting XI and was left to scrape up minutes off the bench shows just how much he struggled. Especially with the price tag that is associated with DP’s.
To his credit, he improved by the end of the regular season and seems to be a starter once again, but with how high expectations were for him entering the season, 2020 was a massive disappointment for the Polish striker.
Seth - Adam Buksa
With Gil and Bou already putting up solid numbers, many believed that Buksa’s signing would put the Revs over the top. That wasn’t the case, however, as the Polish striker struggled to find consistency. He ended the season with six goals and two assists.
This isn’t completely his fault because 2020 is a weird year. You do wish that a Designated Player would’ve produced more, however.
Alex - Alexander Buttner
Yes, I could have chosen the obvious choice and just recycled what everyone else said. Instead, let’s talk about Buttner. For a player of his pedigree, I found his season to be very underwhelming. Prior to the season, MLS pegged him as one of the 10 biggest moves in the MLS offseason. Sure, 3 assists is good. But, he struggled with fitness and his defending was a bit shaky at times. I expected more from Buttner than what we got.
Jake - Christian Penilla at CAM
We’re going to specifically take the handful of regular season games where Bruce Arena continued to trot out poor Penilla in a central playmaking role that he just wasn’t able to fill. This isn’t all on Penilla, Arena deserves his fair share for continuing this experiment for several weeks after it had failed. After a breakout 2018 campaign, Penilla was largely relegated to a substitute role where he showed flashes of brilliance with both assists in a late 2-0 win at DC. However, Penilla was subbed off injured against NYCFC in the 37th minute on October 11th and failed to log an appearance in the final six games which might bring an end to his playing tenure in New England with the always consistent Bunbury, Buchanan’s breakout year, Gil returning, Kekuta Manneh’s signing adding to the competition at the wide spots.