Tonight, the New England Revolution embark on a 34 game journey full of adversity. The Chicago Fire await them at the storied Soldier Field. Game one will be a good signal of what’s to come, but it should be taken with a grain of salt.

After putting up an 8-7-8 record, good enough for eighth in the East, the Revs made a playoff run. It was ended in the conference finals by Columbus, but they have reinforced the squad, and are ready to get after it once again.

NEW ADDITIONS

  • M/F Arnór Traustason (Malmö FF)
  • M Wilfrid Kaptoum  (Real Betis)
  • GK Earl Edwards Jr.  (DC United)
  • M/F Emmanuel Boateng (Columbus Crew)
  • D Christian Mafla (National)
  • D AJ DeLaGarza (Inter Miami)
  • F Edward Kizza (Pittsburgh University)
  • D Jon Bell (Revolution II)
  • M Lucas Maciel (Revolution II)

While the Revs had one of the busiest off-seasons in the league on the offensive side, they lost plenty of players as well. Club legend Diego Fagundez is the most notable loss, leaving his boyhood club for Austin FC after a decade. Kekuta Manneh joined him at Austin as well. Fan favorite Kelyn Rowe shipped out to Seattle, his hometown. Meanwhile, high profile players in Cristian Penilla and Alexander Büttner left without a contract extension.

The biggest worry left on the roster side of things definitely points to the back line. While they did make some additions, the center back depth is not immense. After losing Antonio Delamea and Michael Mancienne, both decent defenders that didn’t work out too well in New England, the Revs did not make a huge effort to bring in defensive help. Jon Bell is an extremely exciting prospect, though, while Collin Verfurth fights for a spot as well. The Revolution alway struggle to defend set pieces, so that will be a goal of theirs.

2021 NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION:

GOALKEEPERS: Matt Turner (#30), Brad Knighton (#18), Earl Edwards Jr. (#36)

DEFENDERS: Andrew Farrell (#2), Henry Kessler (#4), Collin Verfurth (#35), Brandon Bye (#15), Jon Bell (#23), AJ DeLaGarza (#28), Christian Mafla (#32), DeJuan Jones (#24)

MIDFIELDERS: Matt Polster (#8), Tommy McNamara (#26), Luis Caicedo (#27), Scott Caldwell (#6), Carles Gil (#22), Damian Rivera (#72), Arnór Traustason (#25), Tajon Buchanan (#17), Wilfrid Kaptoum (#5), Lucas Maciel (#13)

FORWARDS: Teal Bunbury (#10), Gustavo Bou (#7), Justin Rennicks (#12), Edward Kizza (#19), Adam Buksa (#9)

PROJECTED STARTING XI AT CHICAGO:

4-2-3-1

GK: Matt Turner (#30)

DEF: DeJuan Jones (#24), Henry Kessler (#4), Andrew Farrell (#2), Brandon Bye (#15)

MID: Matt Polster (#8), Tommy McNamara (#26), Carles Gil (#22), Gustavo Bou (#7), Tajon Buchanan (#17)

FWD: Adam Buksa (#9)

LINEUP NOTES:

  • While Lucas Maciel was given an abundance of playing time in the preseason, he is OUT for Saturday’s game
  • Icelandic winger Arnòr Traustason has yet to clear quarantine protocols, he will be available starting next week
  • DeJuan Jones and Christian Mafla have a friendly competition at the left back spot, it’s up for grabs
  • Tajon Buchanan will likely play on the wing with Traustason out, while Bye will reclaim his spot at RB

The Revolution are being predicted as a top five team in the Eastern Conference, so it’ll be their job to prove them right. An opening day match with a depleted Chicago Fire is a perfect first task. The Fire made ZERO off-season additions following a poor season, a good sign for New England.

The Revs will need to use their speed down to the wings to break down the far from pacey Chicago Fire. The Revs kick off their 26th season in the league at Soldier Field, with an approximate 8:30 Eastern time kickoff.

ADDED NOTE:

Midfielder Luis Caicedo, defender Christian Mafla, and goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr. did not make the trip to Chicago. The trio, two of which had a chance of starting, will play with New England Revolution II in their match with the Richmond Kickers at 5:00. This opens the door for Wilfrid Kaptoum and DeJuan Jones to grab a starting spot in tonight’s match.

 

 

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