At the onset of the 2016 season, Revolution fans set their sights on a deep playoff run. Having qualified for the postseason in three straight seasons, a return to the top of the Eastern Conference table seemed within reach.
But the season didn’t quite turn out this way. By mid-summer, several players—including goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth and Sporting CP loanee Sambinha—had already fallen short of expections. Others, like rookie Jordan McCrary, had yet to make an impact.
Who underachieved the most in 2016? Cast your vote for the Revs “Biggest Flop” of 2016 below.
1. Bobby Shuttleworth
2016 stat line: 21 appearances (20 starts), 5 shutouts, 50 saves, 4-9-8 record
Now two years removed from a sensational playoff run, Shuttleworth has endured a gradual fall from prominence. In 2016, the 29-year-old goalkeeper navigated injuries and on-field inconsistencies, ultimately losing his starting spot to backup Brad Knighton. Shuttleworth made just 20 starts this season, his fewest since 2012.
With Knighton and youngster Cody Cropper seemingly ahead of him on the off-season depth chart, Shuttleworth may now represent an expendable member of Jay Heaps’ roster. If he doesn’t return to Foxboro in 2017, Shuttleworth will land in unfamiliar territory; he hasn’t suited up for another club since the Revs loaned him to the Western Mass Pioneers (USL-2) in 2009.
2. Jordan McCrary
2016 stat line: 2 U.S. Open Cup starts, 0 MLS appearances
Many analysts expected McCrary, the Revs’ 2016 first-round draft pick (10th overall), to compete for a starting spot in March. Fast forward nine months, and McCrary has yet to appear in a league match. His lone action arrived in the early stages of the U.S. Open Cup, when he started against the Carolina RailHawks and New York Cosmos.
Even in the midst of a sloppy, injury-ridden campaign for the Revolution back line—the club ranked 19th in MLS with a -10 goal differential—McCrary failed to earn regular-season minutes. A loan to the Rochester Rhinos, which resulted in one appearance, hardly strengthened his stock. Will McCrary ever get his chance?
2016 stat line: 2 appearances (1 start), 91 minutes
In January, Samba represented the first player to test the Revolution-Sporting CP partnership with he arrived in Foxboro on loan. The move hardly worked out, as the Guinea-Bissauan center back made just one start in 2016. In that start, Samba played mistake-free soccer for 70 minutes—and then whiffed on an aerial through ball that resulted in a Fabian Castillo game-winning goal for FC Dallas.
Samba never appeared again for the Revolution, as the club waived him on August 29.
4. Xavier Kouassi
2016 stat line: 0 appearances, 0 starts
It’s hard to fault Kouassi, the Revs’ highly touted but largely unknown DP, for failing to contribute in 2016; an ACL tear ended his MLS season before it started. But there’s also no denying that Heaps desperately needed his physicality while Gershon Koffie nursed injuries that caused him to miss 15 starts.
In 2017, Kouassi figures to return healthy and ready to contribute, providing much-needed bite to the Revolution midfield. Unfortunately, this contribution will arrive a year later than anticipated.
Stay tuned as we continue to unveil nominees for our 2016 Revolution Player Awards.