With the calendar flipping to 2017, we’re just two months away from the New England Revolution’s season opener against the Colorado Rapids. We’ve already given you five reasons to feel optimistic about the upcoming season, and now we’re going to take out the crystal ball and offer some bold predictions.
1. The Revs will sign an experienced international defender
All it takes is a quick look at the roster to realize that the Revs are short on defenders. With Andrew Farrell and Chris Tierney likely to remain as the first-choice full backs, the major problem lies in the center, especially with Jose Goncalves out of contract. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if Goncalves re-signs, the team still needs to make 2-3 defensive additions. I predict that at least one of the players brought in will be an experienced international, as the Revs coaching staff has recently scouted in Europe, South America, and the Middle East.
2. Juan Agudelo will win the team’s Golden Boot Award
Late last year, I predicted that the Revs’ playoff hopes hinged on the success of Agudelo. The prediction turned out to be correct, as the the forward grabbed four goals and three assists during the last two months of the season when the went Revs 5-2-0. Sure, the club narrowly missed the post-season, but that had little to do with Agudelo.
I’m forecasting that Agudelo’s form will roll over into 2017. The 24-year-old will greatly benefit from playing alongside Kei Kamara for a full year, as defenders will find it difficult to contain both attackers. I also predict that Agudelo will be a regular on the US Men’s National Team.
3. Cody Cropper will become the Revs’ starting goalkeeper
Although they employ four goalkeepers, the Revs don’t have a clear number one. Bobby Shuttleworth is the elder statesman, but lost the spot last season. Brad Knighton took advantage of his counterpart’s slump, and looked good during the final stretch of the season. Cody Crooper stepped in for the season finale, posting a shutout against the Montreal Impact. Meanwhile, Matt Turner put in some solid performances while on loan with the Richmond Kickers.
So, how does this all play out?
To me, Crooper should be be given the job. The 23-year-old is full of potential and deserves the opportunity to grow. Knighton should be his backup with Turner serving as the third string. As far as Shuttleworth goes, the Revs should see if they can negotiate a trade, which could be good for both the player and team.
So, that’s what we’re predicting for the new year. What do you think will happen? Let us know in the comments section below.