The New England Revolution were officially removed from playoff contention on Friday, September 30th, after a win by Inter Miami CF against their opponent, Toronto FC.
There is plenty of time to go over what went wrong, we’d rather focus on what went right. During the 2022 season, the Revs and Bruce Arena hit quite a few historic moments. Their talent was shown at varying moments across the year. Here are a few important sections to touch on that went well for the organization.
New England Revolution found a replacement for the unreplaceable
In 2021, many didn’t believe that when Matt Turner and the Revs agreed to a transfer to Arsenal we would find a suitable replacement. The beginning of 2022 turned into a mishmash of good performances and really poor performances from Turner’s back-ups. Knighton and Edwards Jr. were good, but not good enough. Heading towards the summer transfer window, the fans were wondering if they’d even find a keeper of any worth.
On April 6th, 2022, New England announced the signing of Djordje Petrović, a 22-year-old Serbian national team player. His previous team FK Čukarički plays in the Serbian SuperLiga and received a $1,000,000 transfer fee for him. In most soccer circles in the US, the signing didn’t move the needle for anyone right away. On tape and statistically, in Serbia, Djordje was an absolute talent, but could that play translate to the MLS?
Right away, the shot-stopper extraordinaire proved to the worried fans that he was the real deal. In his first five games, Djordje went undefeated and made 17 saves. Within those games, he also earned his first clean sheet.
Across the entire season, he went on to keep his opponents from scoring in a total of seven games. Four of those came in succession in July and August. The goalkeeper cemented his place among the team and made sure the fans knew he was the number one for the Revolution. Thus ending the worry that Turner would never be replaced. Way to go, Djordje.
Academy and Revolution II pipeline looking strong
In the past three seasons, the second team (Revolution II) had 25 New England Revolution Academy players see their first professional minutes. In 2020 and 2021, the team had opponents of the USL League One help sharpen their abilities. This past season, they joined the battle against most of the MLS second teams in MLS NEXT Pro.
Stemming from that game time at a higher level, the Revolution have found a serious gold mine of talent. New England made sure to sign two of those talents Noel Buck and Esmir Bajraktarevic to first-team contracts in 2022. Esmir made three appearances for the US U19 National Team this year and scored one goal. Noel was called into the May camp for the US U19 as well.
And to continue that pipeline, this year, the Revolution II added Jack Panayotou on a professional contract. Jack was also a part of the squad that Esmir made three appearances for in the Slovenia Nations Cup. It will be interesting to see how quickly Panayotou finds his way into a first-team contract.
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There are quite a few names coming through the academy currently to keep an eye on. Most recently and notably, Gabriel Chávez, a 17-year-old center-back who ticks all the boxes across the backline. He started out with the NYCFC Academy system. In 2021, the defender chose to switch after losing out game time at the U-17 level in New York. Gabriel shifted to the Revs and joined up with the eventual MLS Next Cup-winning U-19 Academy team. Can’t wait to see what other talents appear in these squads.
Nacho Gil surprises all critics
When it was rumored that Carles Gil’s brother was going to be picked up by New England, a lot of fans immediately scoured his statistics. Nacho was coming from the last four seasons in LaLiga 2. While playing across three teams, Cartagena, Elche, and Ponferradina, as a midfielder. Gil had only assisted four and scored four goals. His minutes for Cartagena had begun to dwindle and finally, the team declined his option at the end of the season.
It was understandable to look at Nacho Gil’s stats and not get excited. But now that we’ve seen over 200 minutes of him for the New England Revolution, it is looking likely that he receives a contract extension. Bruce Arena said as much in an interview with Zo and Bertrand on 98.5 The Sports Hub on October 7th, “We look forward to trying to sign him (Nacho Gil) for next year”.
Apart from his first game, which he only played eight minutes in, Gil had a key pass, if not two, in each game. He was consistently involved in attacking play, touching the ball over 50 times in his first 55 minutes. If Arena follows through with his want, the Revs should have a player who can consistently compete for playing time.