One of the original ten MLS franchises, the New England Revolution have seen quite a bit of changes ahead of their 22nd season. But the past few recent campaigns have seemingly brought more questions than answers for manager Jay Heaps’ squad.
Three Questions for the 2017 New England Revolution Season
The mid-season addition of US international midfielder Jermaine Jones propelled the Revs to the 2014 MLS Cup final, falling in extra-time to the Los Angeles Galaxy. The following season saw a frustrating wild-card round loss to D.C. United and the end of Jones’ time in Foxboro.
2016 saw a strong push for the postseason that ended just short, missing out on the final Eastern Conference seed to the Philadelphia Union on goal-differential. But within the last campaign, pieces were put into place that should start to see early positive returns in the new year.
A trade during last season for Columbus Crew striker Kei Kamara sees a proven MLS goal-scorer at the top of the line-up, adding to the talents of Juan Agudelo and Teal Bunbury. Utilizing the three effectively could see New England’s attack consistently frustrate the opposition’s defense.
Goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth has been a solid presence, while a back-line featuring promising youngsters Andrew Farrell and London Woodberry continue to evolve. Team captain Lee Nguyen is a driving force in the midfield, as he looks to recapture his MVP form and make his case for the USMNT.
New England prepare for their 2017 MLS season opener at the Colorado Rapids on Saturday, March 4.
Can the Revs make a return to the MLS Cup Playoffs?
A return to MLS Cup postseason play may ultimately come down to a better start for Heaps’ side. The Revolution earned only one victory in their first 11 regular season matches in 2016 (1-7-3).
Pre-season results in Arizona were positive, with the club winning five of their eight games in the desert.
Especially with so many draws during the early portion of last year, a more organized and disciplined approach may be seen in midfield and along the back-line to protect leads.
What can Kei Kamara produce in his first full season?
Forward Kei Kamara may have left the Columbus Crew under dubious circumstances, but the Sierra Leone international is primed for a strong campaign with the Revolution.
Arriving in May, Kamara scored seven goals and added two assists to help keep New England in the thick of the playoff race until the final days.
With skill and pace around him in the attack, Kei Kamara will be aiming to replicate his 2015 season in Columbus where he scored 22 goals.
Will plans for a new stadium ever truly materialize?
Similar to that of the Loch Ness Monster or Sasquatch, New England Revolution fans will believe it when they see it in regards to owner Robert Kraft building a soccer-specific stadium for the team. But there have once again been some promising signs.
Talks of a new facility in the Boston area were discussed late last year, and the topic always seems to bring a strong reaction from those involved with the league or the northeast region.
Playing in Gillette Stadium harkens back to some of the dismal and awkward early days for Major League Soccer. With fellow charter franchise D.C. United finally breaking ground on their new home, perhaps this is the time that a genuine project comes together for the New England Revolution.