The 2016 MLS season is finally upon us and with it comes a renewed sense of optimism. Fans of each club are full of anticipation, waiting to see what the new year brings. So, what can we expect from the New England Revolution? Here are a few (bold) ideas.
1. Juan Agudelo will have a breakout season.
With his pure determination and knack for scoring, Charlie Davies will start the year as team’s lone striker. Despite this, 2016 will belong to Agudelo as the 23-year-old is just too talented to be sitting on the bench. Agudelo will finally near, if not meet, his full potential, earning a spot in the starting lineup while nabbing goals on a weekly basis. This doesn’t mean the end of Davies, as the New Hampshire native will still get regular minutes as a reserve for Agudelo.
2. The Revs will avoid the dreaded summer slump.
A lot has been made of the Revolution’s annual summer cold spell, but 2016 is the year that they will avoid it, partially because they will be hyper-focused on doing so and partially because of the Copa America break. The Revs will certainly go through highs and lows throughout the season, but they won’t endure anything near the disappointments they saw in 2015 (one win in twelve) or 2014 (one win in eleven).
3. Xavier Kouassi will play in 2016.
Less than a week after the Revs announced the signing of Kouassi, the midfielder went down with an ACL injury, which will sideline him for six to nine months. It was devastating news for the Revs, who hoped that the FC Sion captain would replace Jermaine Jones. The team has since moved on, as they have signed Gershon Koffie while also playing Kelyn Rowe in a more withdrawn spot. That said, the Revolution would certainly like to see their new DP on the field in 2016 and I think they will, even if it’s just to close out a game or two.
4. Lee Nguyen will be part of the Copa America squad.
Although Revolution fans have long been aware of Nguyen’s talent, US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann is just catching on. Klinsmann called Nguyen "one of the winners" of the January camp, giving the midfielder two consecutive starts. Nguyen made the most of these opportunities and looked particularly sharp in the attacking third. While these performances came against an underwhelming Canada and a weakened Iceland, Nguyen deserves to be called up in the future. With this mind, Nguyen will be on the Copa America team.
5. Je-Vaughn Watson will be a solid pickup.
The addition of Koffie has caught the most attention and rightfully so since the departure of Jones has left a large void. Koffie will certainly be a big player in 2016, but Watson will prove to be more valuable. While Chris Tierney has had the left back position locked down over the last few years, the right back spot was in a state of flux last season after Andrew Farrell moved centrally. In 2015, London Woodberry, Darrius Barnes, Kevin Alston, and Jeremy Hall all spent time there. Each player had their good and bad moments, but no one took ownership of the spot. Watson will become the full-time right back, bringing much-needed stability to the back line.