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 That’s what we are highlighting here today. The players that came out of nowhere and had a quality 2020 season.
So without further ado let’s get to the third and final award that The Bent Musket will be handing out, the Most Improved Player of 2020.
Josh - Tajon Buchanan
Just by looking at the stat sheet, you can see the increase in production Tajon Buchanan had.
The second-year man from Syracuse finished his 2019 campaign with 10 appearances and 4 starts where he earned two assists.
Comparing that to his 2020 stats, it’s clear to see the growth Tajon made before the start of the 2020 season. Throughout 2020, Buchanan became a staple on the Revs gameday squad, making 23 appearances with 11 starts and notched his first two professional goals!
Sam - Tajon Buchanan
Like Josh said, it’s pretty easy to see just how much Buchanan improved in 2020. Buchanan became a regular member of the starting XI and was able to secure his first professional goals of his career.
Beyond the stats, Buchanan has just become a much more confident player. He isn’t afraid to go directly at his opponents and use his pace to blow right by them.
Buchanan will be a dangerous weapon moving forward. With key players like Gustavo Bou and Carles Gil finally healthy, one can only assume that we will see more great performances from Buchanan.
Seth - Henry Kessler
Buchanan is the obvious choice here since he went from ineffective bench player to regular starter. That said, he still has areas that he needs to work on, including his decision making.
Meanwhile, Kessler has established himself as a legit MLS center back, which isn’t necessarily what we thought would happen. Remember, Kessler struggled with positioning during his first few games, an issue that he’s since addressed.
Kessler started the year as a rookie looking to challenge for a starting spot. He’s now the Revs’ best defender. Not a bad trajectory.
Alex - Tajon Buchanan
It’s Tajon for every reason stated above. With that said, I agree with Seth and also believe Kessler deserves some form of recognition for how incredibly reliable he was in the back for this team.
Jake - Henry Kessler
At the end of the day, I don’t think I expected Kessler to solidify himself as a starting centerback in March OR Buchanan to log so many solid performances in 2020 at the MLS level. But while Tajon’s made great strides, the edge goes to Kessler here. For years I lobbied for and mock drafted centerbacks to add to the Revs backline and Bruce Arena hit a home run selecting from his alma mater in the first round. There weren’t a lot of bright spots for the Revs in 2020, but Kessler’s rise and Buchanan’s late season push were two of them.