It looked like DeJuan Jones wasn’t even going to be the starting left back for the New England Revolution at the start of the season, but oh how things have changed.
Jones has far outplayed Christian Mafla who the Revs acquired from Columbia and has cemented his spot in the starting XI, even with Mafla appearing to be 100 percent healthy. It doesn’t look like he will be giving up that spot anytime soon either.
The left back out of Michigan State had another great performance on Saturday night against Toronto FC. He played all 90 minutes and racked up an assist along with creating the most chances in the match with four chances created. Jones also tallied 70 touches while completing 86 percent of his passes.
Jones wasn’t just good on the attack either. He was solid defensively against some top-tier talent in Toronto’s Jonathan Osorio as well as Richie Laryea.
The highlight of the match for Jones has to be his cross that Buchanan headed home to give the Revs a 1-0 lead. The Michigan State man showed his great skills on the ball cutting back and sending a beautiful ball into the box.
Head Coach and Sporting Director, Bruce Arena was pleased with the performance of both his outside backs, not just Jones.
Arena said, Well, [Dejuan Jones] was very good matched up against good players in [Richie] Laryea and [Jonathan] Osorio. And I thought his teammate on the other side of the field, Brandon Bye, was simply outstanding in the closing 10 minutes dealing with [Yeferson] Soteldo. Both were very good, and you know DeJuan continues to grow as a player and it’s really good to see those two players playing well.”
One of the biggest improvements in Jones’ game is his ability with his left foot. In the past he has struggled using both feet but this season he has made some great plays with his left.
Center back Henry Kessler was asked about Jones’ performance against Toronto and it seems that the left back isn’t the only one who works on that specific skill.
Kessler said, “I think he’s performed really well. He takes a lot of pride in his left foot, as do I. We kind of have a little competition on who’s left foot is better. He’s really worked on it. His crossing has gotten really good, as you saw today. He had a nice cut-back onto his right foot, great service. I think he’s getting forward in the attack well and he’s defending really well as well. Whether that’s, you know, contesting crosses or being ready at the back post or clearing balls, he’s done really well. I think he’ll continue to progress and he’s a really important player for us.”
Jones now has a goal and four assists on the season and it’s no surprise that he’s attracting interest from Europe. He has shown in 2021 just how talented of a player he can be for the best team in MLS right now.