New England Revolution: 2013 Season Preview
New England Revolution are looking to rebound from 2012, when they were the Eastern Conference’s 2nd-worst team. The 2013 version looks to be heading in the right direction however, with some additions and developments that will have the Revs in contention for the playoffs.
The Revs have finished a preseason where they accumulated a 2-3-1 record. They’ve established that they can beat New York, as Red Bull were the only team the Revs beat. They scored 8 goals in those 6 matches, which is a higher goals-per-game rate than last season. They’ll be depending on the further development of homegrown player Diego Fagundez to work with 2012 leading scorer Saer Sene and Jerry Bengtson in what should be a formidable attack trio. Another key to the Revs improving their offense will be the contributions from Lee Nguyen and Chris Tierney out of the midfield. Tierney led the team in assists in 2012, and Nguyen was the 2nd-leading goal scorer. It’s vital for the success of the team that this production be continued in 2013.
There were also additions to the defense. They traded up in the MLS Superdraft from #4 to #1 to select Andrew Farrell, and signed Jose Goncalvez to bolster the rearguard. The average age of the defenders is just under 24 years old, so a seasoned veteran like Goncalvez could prove indispensable. The midfield sees the return of 2004 draftee Andy Dorman, and the acquisition of Khalifa Cisse. Both of those players bring a significant amount of experience playing in Europe. The stability they can bring should help the team improve overall.
The schedule is a bit odd to begin the season. They have byes in weeks 1 and 6, meaning they will not be a part of MLS’ opening weekend. The unbalanced schedule has them visiting the 3 Cascadia clubs, as well as Colorado Rapids and Chivas USA. They host MLS Cup Champions LA Galaxy, FC Dallas, Real Salt Lake, and San Jose. The Eastern Conference teams they will visit two of the three season matchups are Chicago, New York, and Columbus. The teams they will host twice are Philadelphia, Houston, and DC United. They play Sporting Kansas City and Montreal just twice, once home and once away. I like how the Eastern Conference part of their schedule broke down. Chicago and Columbus are playoff-caliber teams but they’re not dominant at home with a +9 and +7 home goal differential, respectively. They play DC and Houston at Gillette Field, and that’s good because they are +20 and +19 in home goals, respectively. The worst part of the schedule is three separate trips to the Pacific Northwest. I see development from last year. They’ll contend for the final playoff spot, but fall short, but showing promise for and even better 2014.