The 2021 MLS season is quickly approaching and soon enough the New England Revolution will be back out on the pitch. That means it’s the perfect time to make some predictions about the upcoming season.
In 2020, New England had some familiar faces continue to perform well while some others had a rough year. The Revolution were also lucky enough to have some players come out of nowhere and be solid contributors to Bruce Arena’s squad.
So the staff at The Bent Musket will be making some predictions ahead of the 2021 season. First up is predicting the 2021 Team MVP.
Sam - Carles Gil
Revolution fans didn’t get to see a lot of Carles Gil in 2020, but when he was on the field he made an impact.
After missing a significant amount of the season due to injury, Gil appeared in 10 matches but was able to tally two goals and four assists.
When Gil returned you could instantly see how much he meant to the squad. He is the heart and soul of the team and is able to make magic in the midfield.
Now that he is healed and should be preparing to play a full season, Revolution fans will be on the edge of their seats waiting to see how well Gil will perform. When he came over to MLS in 2019 he was able to win the Newcomer of the Year Award. Could more hardware be on the horizon for Gil?
Frankly, if Gil plays at the level he should be for the entire 2021 season, there is no doubt that he will be Team MVP when the season is over.
Josh - Adam Buksa
Look, I am not going to sugar coat it. Adam Buksa had a lackluster debut season in 2020 as the Polish striker ended the season with 6 goals and 2 assists. Many were quick to call the young striker a “bust”, but it’s honestly too early to tell considering everything that was 2020.
After being announced in December of 2019, Buksa had a limited number of months to adjust from his native Poland to the hustle and bustle that is Boston as well as to the different play styles between MLS and the Ekstraklasa.
Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench into the schedule. Buksa and the Revs played two games before the pandemic halted action until July. After the conclusion of the MLS is Back tournament, there was another pause in action until the 2020 regular season started up.
Now that it appears that MLS will return to a normal season free of obstacles, Buksa will have a chance to get himself into a rhythm throughout the 2021 regular season. I have no doubts that if Buksa can light a flame and stay healthy, there is no way he doesn’t amount at least 10 goals and 10 assists in 2021.
That is why I am picking Adam Buksa to be a major force in the Revolution’s offensive production in 2021 and believe he will earn the Revs 2021 MVP award.
Blaise - Carles Gil
Trust me, I really wanted to say someone else, because Gil is the obvious answer. Turner, Kessler, and Bou all deserve consideration, but when you have Gil on your squad, a top-5 player in the MLS, you can’t overthink it.
Carles Gil is the fulcrum of this team, the man who gives a pulse to Arena’s side. When Gil was sidelined with an injury last season, the team often looked dead in attack, lacking the spark needed to jumpstart offensive blitzes. When he returned for the 2020 playoffs, that all changed.
His ability to pick up the ball from deep and turn it into an offensive chance highlights his game, and it’s a skill that only the best in the MLS can rival (a comparison is Alejandro Pozuelo, MLS MVP in 2020).
He can dribble, pass in tight spaces, whip in appetizing crosses, and, of course, find the back of the net. He’s a playmaker in every sense, and he’s my pick for the 2021 Revolution MVP.
Jake - Tajon Buchanan
Yes, Carles Gil is going to be the best player on the field and make a lot of things happen in the final third. Yes, Adam Buksa might lead the team in goals. Tajon Buchanan however is the cog in the system that allows this to happen.
How quickly we forget Buchanan’s breakout MLS Playoff run from the right back position, because what began as a spot start turned into a tactical revolution for New England. Buchanan’s speed and overlapping combined so well with the inside cutting Gil that the Revs wreaked havoc all the way to the Eastern Conference final where a damn good Columbus Crew team finally was able to shut it down.
Buchanan is going to miss some time with the Canadian U23 Olympic squad for qualifying and hopefully the actual Olympic tournament and I know Bruce Arena has said he wants to use Tajon as a winger, but the Revs are far too loaded up front for Buchanan to get a lot of starts there. Buchanan works so well as a fullback when he has space to run or especially in the Revs preferred 4-2-3-1 setup. If his playoff form carries over into 2021, the Revs are going to be a top team in the East.
Seth - Carles Gil
I wanted to pick someone less obvious but Gil is just too good. The Spanish midfielder makes the Revolution tick, which is why they struggled so much when he was sidelined last year. Gil’s late-season return benefited Adam Buksa, Gustavo Bou, and the rest of the squad. I expect that Gil will solidify his status as one of the league’s best midfielders.
That said, I will be keeping a close eye on Arnor Ingvi Traustason and Wilfrid Kaptoum. Both players were signed to strengthen positions of need and could be MVP candidates if put the Revs over the top. This is especially true if they become well-liked by supporters since the Team MVP is decided by the fans.