We are days away from saying goodbye to the 2010s, which is completely fine for most New England Revolution fans. Sure, the decade included an appearance in both the MLS Cup final (2014) and U.S. Open Cup final (2016), but most years were lackluster with some being outright poor.
The decade started with the sunset of the Stevie Nicol Era, leading to a rebuilding phase headed up by club legend Jay Heaps. When the former defender was ousted, long-time General Manager Michael Burns hired Brad Friedel, his former roommate, to lead the charge. That experiment was a disaster and both Burns and Friedel were shown the door in favor of Bruce Arena.
Arena has brought promise to the Revs and fans are ready to see what 2020 brings. Before that happens, let’s take a look at the best players from the 2010s.
For this exercise, we created three teams based on how players performed for the Revs during this decade. Years prior to 2010 weren’t considered. We also didn’t factor in performances for other clubs.
We tried to create realistic lineups, which is why we avoided three-man back lines and refused to put players in unnatural positions
Without further ado, here’s what we came up with:
This lineup should look pretty familiar to Revs fans since it’s largely the squad used at MLS Cup 2014.
We did insert Matt Reis, who performed well at the beginning of the decade before retiring after the 2013 season. His performance in his final match—an away playoff game against Sporting KC—makes us wish he played at least one more year.
Carles Gil makes the team despite only one year in Revs colors. That said, he collected 10 goals and 14 assists en route to being named as the 2019 MLS Newcomer of the Year. That’s good enough to earn him a first-team nod. Plus, we want to see Gil and Lee Nguyen play together.
Cristian Penilla makes the list after only two years with the Revs. The speedy winger has had ups-and-downs in MLS, but you can’t question his ability when he’s playing at his best. He won the team’s Golden Boot award in his first season (12 goals, seven assists) and followed that up with six goals and eight assists in 2019. Maybe Kelyn Rowe deserves the spot over Penilla, but we decided to put the Wahington native on the second team so he can play his more preferred position (no, not left back).
We changed the formation for this one, going with a 4-4-1-1 to suit Gustavo Bou. Bou almost made it onto the first team due to his dynamic arrival at the end of the decade but we decided to leave him off because he only played 14 games.
This lineup has Kei Kamara playing in front of Bou. The Designated Player made 48 appearances for the club, amassing 19 goals and seven assists—not bad for a guy playing on a team that didn’t fit his style.
Rowe gets the opportunity to play as an attacking midfielder. Meanwhile, Diego Fagundez lines up on the left, ready to cut in to use his right foot. Shalrie Joseph is tasked with protecting the back line. Even if the defensive midfielder had a sharp decline in 2012, his contributions in 2010-11 earn him a spot. Teal Bunbury returns to the midfield to play his fabled “target winger” role.
The back line is anchored by Matt Turner, who get the nod over Bobby Shuttleworth. Turner may be new, but he’s already shown the ability to make spectacular saves. Conversely, Shuttleworth had some glaring weaknesses, including long-distance shots. How many times did Adam Moffat score on him?
Antonio Delamea and Jalil Anibaba are the team’s center backs while old friends Darrius Barnes and Kevin Alston patrol the wide areas. It’s not the strongest back line but it’s full of passion and personality.
This is where things got really fun.
Let’s start in the back, as Shuttleworth gets his name called to play between the sticks. In front of him is a back line of Seth Sinovic, Stephen McCarthy, JeVaughn Watson, and Brandon Bye. That list of names is a reminder that the Revs defense wasn’t particularly good in the 2010s.
Two-time Rev Gershon Koffie anchors the midfield alongside newcomer Luis Caicedo. It was a bit tough selecting who would play in these positions with Wilfried Zahibo (post-Friedel), Dagio Kobayashi, Andy Dorman, Clyde Simms, and Xavier Kouassi providing competition.
Marko Perovic earns a place for being one of the few bright spots of 2010. Joining him are Saer Sene and his left foot and Benny Feilhaber and his disinterest in playing for the Revs. Feilhaber could’ve been dropped for someone else (Saniey Nyassi?) but Seth pushed for his inclusion because he’s a fan of the Benny, Sal, and Ike Show.
Juan Agudelo leads the line as the starting striker. The attacker had some of the Revs’ best goals from the decade but he was too inconsistent to take anyone’s spot in the first or second team.
Players who missed the cut
No, we aren’t going to make a fourth team (feel free to do so in the comments section!), but we will rundown some notable names that missed the cut.
Ryan Cochrane-The guy had a pretty sweet mustache.
Andy Dorman-Dorman returned to the Revs in 2013 and was a pretty solid contributor. In the end, our memories of frequent bookings kept him out of the third team.
Cory Gibb-The USMNT veteran was traded from Colorado and had a pretty forgettable season with the Revs in 2010 before heading to Chicago.
Ryan Guy-The pride of Guam played all of the field for the Revs. He had four goals and two assists in 45 appearances.
Dimitry Imbongo-He was an aggressive striker who found the back of the net four times while adding four helpers.
Daigo Kobayashi-The infamous Player X almost made the third team. The box-to-box midfielder was one of the first men off the bench from 2015-2017 (he started 23 of 34 games in 2014).
Xavier Kouassi-Revs fans will always wonder what could have been had Kouassi not suffered a knee injury just days after signing his Designated Player contract. He only played 23 games for the Revs, but did score a goal against New York City FC while hobbling around on one leg.
Rajko Lekic-Lekic was expected to be the team’s goalscorer in 2011, but only had six goals and one assist before departing at the end of the season. He did have a funny moment when he insisted on taking a PK despite not being the team’s designated taker.
Kenny Mansally-Mansally came to the Revs in 2007 as a promising youngster. By the 2010s, it was clear that he wasn’t going to be the star that fans hoped he would be.
Patrick Mullins-Mullins only spent one year with the Revs but he did have an assist in the MLS Cup final.
Sainey Nyassi-Nyassi joined the Revs at the same time as Mansally. He had a similar experience as his compatriot.
Zack Schilawski-That hat trick against Toronto FC made us believe that brighter days were coming. Schilawski ultimately netted six goals in 28 appearances.
Clyde Simms-Simms was a MLS veteran who played with heart when with the Revs in 2012 and 2013. He was forced to retire early due to health issues but was spotted in the stands when the Revs made the MLS Cup final in 2014.
Donnie Smith-Smith was with the Revs from 2013-2017 but only made six appearances. Many hoped that he’d be Tierney’s replacement. My favorite moment of his was when he was forced to play as a striker because he was injured and the Revs were out of subs. He actually did decently!
Juan Toja-See Cochrane’s entry but replace “mustache” with “hair.” He had one goal in eleven games.
London Woodberry-Woodberry almost beat out Brandon Bye as the right back on the third team. Woodberry was with the Revs from 2015-2017.
Wilfried Zahibo-Zahibo could’ve been on the third team but visions of his play under Brad Friedel are still lingering in our minds.