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The Bent Musket Roundtable: Grading the 2022 New England Revolution season

The Bent Musket gave their thoughts on how the season ended up playing out.

MLS: Atlanta United FC at New England Revolution Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

So that’s it, folks. The 2022 New England Revolution season has come to an end.

With New England failing to make the postseason, the Revs can now only focus on next season and figuring out how they can improve. So the staff here at The Bent Musket gave their thoughts on how the season ended up playing out.

Sam - D+

I will say that the only reason this isn’t an F is because of a few positives. Let’s get those out of the way.

Djordje Petrovic was an absolute animal in net. His shot-stopping ability is up there with Matt Turner and I think the Serbian will be better than the current USMNT starter.

New England also saw some promising play from youngsters. Noel Buck was able to net his first goal along with Damian Rivera and Justin Rennicks had some flashes as well.

But after that, it was a whole lot of bad. The fact that the Revolution missed the playoffs with the talent they have is unacceptable. Making the playoffs should be the minimum that this team is doing.

Looking at the two Designated Players who were with New England all season, Gustavo Bou and Carles Gil both underperformed. While Bou won the golden boot race, the amount of time he missed was a letdown. Gil also put up solid numbers but took a step back after being named MVP in 2022.

When you look at the Revs transfer activity, the picture only gets bleaker. While Petrovic was a home run, Giacomo Vrioni and Dylan Borrero missed significant time due to injury, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi has yet to play a game in New England since being acquired due to injury as well.

When you look at Bruce’s old pals who were brought in before the start of the season, only Omar Gonzalez remains. Jozy Altidore is on loan with Puebla and Sebastian Lletget was acquired by FC Dallas where he has found new life.

Gonzalez had a rough season making multiple crucial mistakes. It will be interesting to see if he stays in New England for 2023. Altidore could also be on the way out as he mentioned in The Athletic that he hopes to stay in Liga MX. Oh, and let’s not get started about the poor play of Christian Makoun.

The back line also appears to be an area of concern for the Revs. The once solid center back pairing of Henry Kessler and Andrew Farrell struggled in 2022. New England could make some moves to improve at the position leaving Kessler in a competition for a starting spot (I personally don't think Farrell is going anywhere).

The wingbacks looked good in spurts but struggled to be consistent throughout the season. DeJuan Jones and Brandon Bye were great on the attack but struggled defensively at times.

This season was BAD. The Revs should be in the playoffs but due to poor performances combined with bad luck, they are sitting at home wishing that it was 2021 again.

Josh - D-

If I had to summarize the season with one word, it would be “blown”. The Revs had numerous chances to succeed in 2022, but they blew them. Up 3-0 entering Leg Two against Pumas, blow it in penalties. Blew their US Open Cup chances in extra time after putting out a weaker lineup compared to the lineup that beat Cincinnati 5-1 in the Round of 32. The cherry on top of the sundae, blowing twenty-nine points from a winning position. TWENTY-NINE! That’s two more than the dropped across 2021.

There’s only one reason they don’t get an F in my book, and that’s the addition of Esmir Bajraktarević, Noel Buck, and Djordje Petrović. I didn’t know what to expect with Petrović in goal, but it’s clear that Bruce and company are thoroughly impressed with his development since arriving in New England. Revolution II duo Esmir Bajraktarević and Noel Buck have gradually been introduced into first-team action and have genuinely impressed. Expect to see the duo play into the plans for 2023 and beyond.

After the 2021 playoff exit that this club’s championship window was closing. One year later, that window is getting paper thin. The club needs to assess itself in the offseason and make the necessary adjustments to capitalize on its potential. If not, what we saw in 2022 may become the norm for the Revolution.

Jake: C

Listen, I agree with a lot of what has been said above, particularly Josh bringing up the number of points dropped from winning positions. The Revs were particularly dreadful at giving up leads and losing at the beginning of the year, and even their best stretch midseason featured more draws than wins in a 10-game unbeaten run. New England had a tough task in 2022 and injuries derailed them at both the start and end of the year.

The Revs nearly rebounded from a horrifically poor start to the year when injuries to Turner and the backline saw New England basically in the basement of the Eastern Conference. Late primary window reinforcements were needed after a lack of impact from offseason signings in Jozy and Omar despite Lletget trying his best and doing just fine out wide. Djordje Petrovic was a grand slam signing in net and Giacomo Vrioni and Dylan Borrero look the part of a DP striker and TAM winger respectively.

But aside from Petrovic, none of those players really had any consistent impact on the field for New England, who were left with an attack led by Justin Rennicks, shadow striker Tommy McNamara, and homegrowns Buck and Bajraktarevic for the better part of a month. And while everyone in that makeshift attacking group had some solid performances, you can’t lose your entire starting attacking group that were brought in to help replace the $25 Million worth of players sold in the last year.

The expectations for the Revolution in 2022 were astronomically high and with good reason. There were CCL hopes and playoff dreams that honestly, never got off the ground and perhaps were never going to. Yes, everyone thought the Revs were going to be good, perhaps not Shield winners, but solid playoff team was the baseline and the Revs quickly dug themselves a hole far too deep to climb out of.

The grade I give the Revs is more reflective of the long term. New England got caught between trying to balance short and long-term success this year and got burned in the short term, nearly stabilized a disaster, and then got bit by another injury bug. Could a healthy Vrioni and/or Borrero have gotten this team above the playoff line? We’ll never know, but certainly they should be able to help the Revs rebound in 2023.