We are weeks away from the New England Revolution opening preseason camp on Jan. 21. Even so, there are plenty of questions we have about how this team will fare in 2019. Here’s what we are wondering:
Seth: How will the Revs play?
The high-press system worked well for the first couple months of 2018 largely because it surprised opponents. When teams started to adjust, the Revs didn’t evolve much, which led to a disappointing second half of the year.
With this in mind, I’m curious to see what coach Brad Friedel does in his second season in charge. Friedel has had a full year to implement a plan and establish a culture. He has also had three transfer windows. I’m curious to see how the Revs play in 2019 because it should tell us a lot about Friedel as a coach.
Josh: How will the new additions fit in?
The Revs had made a few big signings in Juan Ferndando Caicedo, Edgar Castillo, and Nicolas Firmino. Club officials have also hinted that there are more moves to come. How will these players factor into Friedel’s plans? How many minutes will they get? Will they find success in New England? These are all questions that I have.
Sean: How Brad Friedel fares in his second season
I questioned the appointment of Brad Friedel as the new head coach last season because of his lack of experience as a head coach. The beginning of the season showed that maybe his lack of experience wouldn’t be an issue, but as the season went on, Friedel’s inexperience combined with not having all the players he wants showed.
Friedel has had a full season to work out the kinks in his preferred style of play and has been given time to recruit players. This season is going to be a big test for the Revolution and Friedel to get back to the playoffs. Friedel has a chance to prove that he can be the man in charge to lead a successful club. Can Friedel inspire another successful start to a season? Can that success continue throughout the late summer and fall months? These are the questions that Friedel should be answering this season.
Jake: Where will the Homegrowns/rookies get their minutes to develop?
New England needs to figure out a way how to get more players minutes at the bottom of the roster and then keep those players for longer than a year. One of the ways the Revs built their 2014 core was through the draft along with the HGP signings of Diego Fagundez and Scott Caldwell and their inability to develop the backend of the roster I think has helped continue the Revs downward trend in the standings. Last year rookie Brandon Bye saw significant minutes at fullback due to injuries and ineffective play at left back, but he was the lone bright spot. Femi Hollinger-Janzen and Nicolas Samayoa saw zero MLS minutes while Mark Segbers got one half (45 minutes) after a decent loan spell in Orange County of the USL. All three of those players were cut at the beginning of the offseason.
The Revs still don’t have a dedicated USL affiliate and it’s unlikely that they will have a full-time affiliation with the Hartford Athletic in 2019. Issac Angking, if healthy, could have a chance to get some of Kelyn Rowe’s utility minute off the bench but aside from that I don’t see a lot of first team minutes for Zachary Herivaux, Nicolas Firmino or the 2019 SuperDraft class. If the Revs are going to get back on track, they can’t just focus on the top half of the roster.