Okay, so this not exactly how the New England Revolution wanted to start the 2020 campaign but Carles Gil has been ruled out as he’s still dealing with an issue that’s kept him out of most of the preseason.
While we expect Gil back and in full fitness sooner rather than later, the Revs are far more equipped to deal with this loss thanks to the bevy of attacking talent the team has. The question going into this year was always going to be figuring out how to get Adam Buska (target striker), Gustavo Bou (second striker), and Carles Gil (playmaker) on the field at the same time with the supporting cast behind them to make it work.
So now that Gil needs to be replaced (and dropped from your fantasy team lineups), here’s what the staff thinks Bruce Arena should do on Saturday in Montreal.
JAKE: (4-4-2) Turner; Buttner, Kessler, Farrell, Jones; Penilla, Zahibo, Rowe, Bunbury; Buksa, Bou
Okay, I’m partial to the 4-4-2 formation and you can easily make this a 4-2-3-1 by dropping the two center mids back and having Bou be more of a true #10. But I don’t want Bou in that middle spot long term, that’s where I’d prefer Gil. If Gil isn’t in the middle of the field I think that hampers the Revs ability to move the ball a bit even if he cuts in a ton from the wing, I’d rather Gil just be in the middle naturally.
That leaves the two strikers in Bou and Buska, with Bou likely working off of Buska who will stay more centrally. I think one of the major keys for the Revs this year will be their fullback play in the final third. We saw last year early on Edgar Castillo do great things and if Buttner, Jones, Bye, and/or Farrell can be effective in the final third with service than my issue with Gil being a winger could be a moot point. Montreal played a midweek CONCACAF Champions League game so I think the Revs should be able to get a result even without Gil to anchor the formation.
SETH: (4-4-2) Turner; Jones, Kessler, Farrell, Bye; Zahibo, Rowe, Bunbury, Penilla; Bou, Buksa
Buttner should be the starting left back but he only played 45 minutes during preseason. It makes sense to rest him in a game that’s going to be played on less-than-ideal turf. Plus, Jones has been pretty solid.
Injuries also affect the decision of who plays center back alongside Farrell. I’m going with Kessler because he had the most minutes.
Zahibo will likely be the one to protect the back line but I’m less sure about his partner. Rowe and Caldwell didn’t do enough to make the spot theirs and Caicedo is listed as questionable. I’ll give the nod to Rowe, largely because he had a nice pass that led to Buksa earning a penalty.
I’m more confident in the thought that Bunbury and Penilla will man the outside areas.
JOSH: (4-3-2-1) Turner, Jones, Kessler, Farrell, Bye, Caicedo, Zahibo, Fagundez, Penilla, Bou, Buksa
If I’m Bruce Arena, I’m looking to put a guy with three key factors. Offensive ability, experience, and ability to read situations. With that being said, I have Diego Fagundez take over for Carles Gil the time being.
Entering his 10th season, the 24-year-old will come in and look to start his 2020 campaign on a high note. We all know that 2019 wasn’t the best season for Diego. With 2 goals and 3 assists over 1,176 minutes, the Uruguayan midfielder will look to return to his former glory and become a key contributor on the pitch.
The young combo of sophomore DeJuan Jones and rookie Henry Kessler will look to shut down Montreal’s offense along with MLS veteran Andrew Farrell and Brandon Bye. With a total of 50 goals allowed during the 2019 campaign, the Revs will rely on their backline to reduce that number significantly. During his rookie season and this past preseason, DeJuan Jones has been able to display his skills and knowledge and will look to continue his growth during the 2020 season.
During the 2020 preseason, we typically saw new DP Adam Buksa show how good of a number 9 he is by scoring 2 goals and 1 assist. A 4-3-2-1 formation will allow Buksa to further show why he is a true number 9 with the assist of Cristian Penilla and Gustavo Bou.
SEAN: (4-4-1-1) Turner; Buttner, Farrell, Kessler, Jones; Penilla, Rowe, Zahibo, Bunbury; Bou; Buska
With Gil out for the game, I think we’ll see Arena opt for a 4-4-1-1 formation because it’ll allow Bou license to roam around and control the attack. He’ll have the option to be up top with Buska but also to drop back into the midfield. Caicedo may not be fit to start, so it’ll be a great opportunity for Rowe to flourish in central midfield in his first game back for the Revs. This formation allows for a threat in the middle with linkup play between Bou and Buska, who’ll likely always stand on the last line of defense, but also still providing width. Penilla and Bunbury will be able to create from the wings and I imagine Jones and Buttner in his debut will have license to push forward as they please. As Delamea is questionable, this is a great chance for Kessler to fight for a starting spot alongside Farrell.