The international break has arrived and that means that clubs in MLS can take a breather as they prepare for what should be a jam packed 2021 season. So naturally it seems like a perfect time to assess how the New England Revolution have performed.
New England enters the break at the top of the Eastern Conference with a record of 5-1-2. They have a perfect home record and entered the break on a three game winning streak.
But there’s more to the story than just the numbers so the staff of The Bent Musket gave their thoughts on how the club has performed so far.
Sam - Looking for that statement win
It’s hard to complain about a team at the top of their conference but that just shows how far the Revs have come.
Matt Turner and Carles Gil have continued to be reliable for New England. Gil has been one of the best players in the league in fact. While he doesn’t have the goal numbers of Raul Ruidiaz and Chicharito, he still should be in the MVP conversation.
But the Revs have yet to have a statement win. Against such clubs as FC Cincinnati and an injury hampered New York Red Bulls, New England failed to establish their dominance.
Moving forward fans should want the Revolution to not just win games, but dominate them. They need to have control for 90 minutes and not just walk away with three points due to a fortunate goal.
If a guy such as Arnór Traustason is able to start scoring goals, New England could be an even more dangerous squad.
Seth - Getting the job done
Many of the Revs’ early games mirror what it’s like to have Bruce Arena as a head coach. Things might not always be smooth at the beginning, but you have to believe that everything will work out.
Like Sam said, the Revs haven’t had a statement win. Instead, they’ve proven that they can get points on a regular basis.
When the Chicago Fire shocked them with two early goals in the season opener, the Revolution battled back to secure a 2-2 draw. A dull game against the Columbus Crew resulted in full points when Adam Buksa came off the bench to score. Buksa was the hero once again against Cincinnati when he got the game-winner on a night where the team’s finishing ability was, uh, frustrating.
There are still questions about whether this team has a legitimate chance to capture the elusive MLS Cup. Who’s the team’s goal scorer? What’s the best lineup? Can they continue to collect wins when the schedule gets busy?
The answers to these questions will come in time, but you should have faith in Arena and his coaching staff.
Josh - The future is bright
Like Sam and Seth have mentioned, I cannot emphasize how much of an impact Carles Gil has had. Gil currently ranks amongst the top of a multitude of stat lines like chances created, chances created from set pieces, assists, and many more. With Gil locked down until the end of the 2024 season, Gil will continue to be a major force in the Revolution’s offense.
One profound achievement for the organization is seeing guys like Jon Bell and Maciel graduate from the Revolution II program. Not only have they made the jump to MLS, but they have also made a big impact in their respective positions when on the pitch. Two years after its formation, it has been good to see the Revs II program has started producing talent and will look to continue doing so in the future.
The best part about the Revs 2021 season is that the team still has not reached its peak performance. As chemistry and fitness continue to grow in 2021 along with players returning from injury, this Revolution team has the potential to become an unstoppable force in Major League Soccer. If the Revs can reach their peak in 2021, there is a good chance they will make another deep run in the playoffs and could hoist their first MLS Cup.
To sum up, the future of the Revolution is so bright, we might need to borrow Clint Dempsey’s sunglasses. With Carles Gil locked down for the coming years along with the production of talent from Revs II, this Revolution team could become the team in Major League Soccer.
Jake - Early Summer Proving Grounds
The New England Revolution will come out of the international break with a much tougher schedule than the opening months. We know the Revs have been dominant at home and fairly solid on the road, but the games will get tougher going into July.
Road trips to New York City FC (at RBA cause reasons), at FC Dallas, at Columbus Crew, at Atlanta United, at Inter Miami CF, at and New York Red Bulls will all get played before August with just three home games in that stretch. We should know pretty quickly just how good this Revs team is by the number of wins they can rack up on the road during this stretch. Draws wouldn’t necessarily be bad, particularly at Columbus, but against a lot of Eastern Conference opponents the Revs would set themselves up nicely for the stretch run to the playoffs with a good run of summer form.
And while there’s a lot of road games which are always tougher to win, the Revs aren’t exactly getting opponents at the top of the table with this part of the schedule either. Dallas is at the bottom of the West and Miami, Atlanta and RBNY are all below the playoff line in the East. NYCFC in 4th and a home date with Montreal in 5th are, if my math is correct, the highest teams in the table the Revs will face. So while not exactly impossible or daunting, if the Revs are as good as we think they are, they’ll pass this stretch of games with largely flying colors.