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How does the New England Revolution 2020 roster shape up?

The New England Revolution have a core group of players to build from as it looks toward 2020

Sep 25, 2019; Portland, OR, USA; Starters for the New England Revolution before a game against the Portland Timbers at Providence Park. The game ended tied 2-2. (Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports)

The New England Revolution’s offseason started immediately after the final whistle of Saturday’s Round 1 MLS Cup Playoffs loss to Atlanta United.

That means the club’s attention now turns to preparing for the 2020 season, specifically by evaluating its roster.

Overall, the Revolution should have a strong core of players returning next year, though the team’s lack of depth in defense and striker will likely be an area of focus.

Head coach/sporting director Bruce Arena and his staff have other considerations to make as well. One involves the arrival of Revolution II – the team’s new, USL League One affiliate – which will give the first team a chance to train and develop prospects, rookies, and homegrown players. Another is the arrivals of two new MLS teams – Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC – which means the Revolution, like most clubs, could have a player taken in the Nov. 19 expansion draft.

New England will host exit interviews and a final media availability on Wednesday, then will make its first roster decisions by announcing contract options.

Here’s a look at each Revolution player’s situation heading into 2020, organized by position:

Goalkeepers

Cody Cropper –The former U.S. men’s national team and Southampton prospect spent the final three months of the season on loan at Hartford Athletic in the USL Championship after making only a handful of starts for the Revolution’s first team. Cropper is an intriguing option for a team looking to develop its goalkeeping ranks, like Nashville, Miami, or Real Salt Lake. He’s experienced and has shown quality in the past, and would cost a potential suitor in MLS just $77,519, according to MLS Players Union figures.

Brad Knighton – Barring being left unprotected and getting selected in the Expansion Draft, Knighton will be back. The veteran second-stringer signed a new contract with the Revolution in August and offers the club plenty of value as a proven understudy.

Matt Turner – He signed a new contract this past summer, was hyped as the potential MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, and came up big numerous times down the stretch as the Revolution fought to return to the post-season. Turner is almost certainly going nowhere.

Defenders

Jalil Anibaba – New England’s back line is thin, especially at center back, so it would make sense to bring the nine-year veteran back in 2020. Even so, the 30-year-old could be a legitimate option for a team elsewhere in rebuild mode should his contract option not get picked up.

Brandon Bye – Bye was versatile for New England in 2019, mostly playing at right back, but occasionally advancing into midfield. Though his contract option might be picked up, he may be at risk of getting selected in the expansion draft.

Edgar Castillo – The veteran left back saw zero playing time in the latter half of the season as he dealt with a serious rib injury. With Dutch left-back Alexander Buttner coming in, Castillo, 33, is a top candidate to depart this offseason.

Antonio Delamea – Though Delamea carries a hefty $425,000 salary, he was mostly reliable for the Revolution in 2019 and started the playoff loss to Atlanta. Delamea is also a green card holder, which means he does not count as an international player on the Revolution roster. His experience makes him worth keeping, especially since Arena probably doesn’t want to start building the back line from scratch. Losing Delamea would essentially mean doing just that.

Andrew Farrell – Farrell is either out of contract on Jan. 1 or entering another contract option year and is not yet eligible for free agency. He was critical to the Revolution making the playoffs this year and proved to be a capable partner to Delamea. The Revolution will probably want to bring back the versatile veteran.

DeJuan Jones – The rookie midfielder learned left back fast when it became clear the team needed another option to back-up Castillo. Jones started in the playoffs, but could return to midfield or slot in as a back-up to Buttner if he’s back in 2020.

Michael Mancienne – Mancienne is one of the highest-paid defenders in the league and would again cost the Revolution nearly $1 million if they opt to bring him back next season. Mancienne, 31, missed 13 games to injury in 2019 and saw his playing time dwindle when the Farrell-Delamea combination in central defense became the team’s best option.

Midfielders

Isaac Angking – The second-year homegrown player did not make a senior team appearance in 2019. Angking looks like a solid option for Revolution II.

Tajon Buchanan – The rookie midfielder slipped to the periphery after Arena’s arrival and didn’t make a regular season appearance after June 3, but might be another option for Revolution II next year.

Luis Caicedo – The Colombian midfielder played in 31 of the Revolution’s 34 regular season games, establishing a nice partnership in the heart of midfield with Carles Gil and Wilfried Zahibo. The 23-year-old did a lot of the dirty work in the middle of the pitch all year, and is part of the core group of players Arena will likely want to bring back.

Scott Caldwell – Caldwell has a guaranteed contract heading into 2020, but his playing time dropped significantly under Arena. Regardless, Arena credited Caldwell for his veteran leadership down the stretch and started him ahead of Caicedo in the playoff loss to Atlanta. Barring something in the expansion draft, he’s safe to return to New England in 2020.

Diego Fagundez – Fagundez’s representatives have talked a big game for the past year about him leaving for greener pastures, but his recent stats seem to suggest the opposite. Fagundez had two goals and three assists in 25 appearances this year – which is probably not the best value for someone making $205,000, per Players Union figures. Fagundez is either entering another option year or out of contract on Jan. 1. If he’s out of contract, we’ll see how interested teams other than New England are about investing in his services.

Nicolas Firmino – No senior team appearances for Firmino outside of coming on against Chelsea in a friendly. Another option for Revolution II.

Carles Gil – The captain and 2019 MLS Newcomer of the Year was instrumental to the Revolution’s success this season. Gil acclimated well to his first year of play outside Europe and led New England’s scoring with 11 goals. He also was fifth in MLS in assists, with 14. Gil is the glue that keeps the Revolution together on the field.

Zachary Herivaux – Though Herivaux continues to get called into the Haiti men’s national team, he has yet to make a significant impact on the Revolution first team. He spent most of 2019 on loan with Birmingham Legion.

Justin Rennicks – The rookie homegrown had an eventful summer by scoring a pivotal goal for the U.S. at the U-23 FIFA World Cup, but went on loan to North Carolina FC in August. He will be protected from selection in the expansion draft as a homegrown player, but he’s another good candidate for Revolution II.

Wilfried Zahibo – Though he’s been criticized for not hustling back to defend on counters, Zahibo is another piece of the Revolution’s core heading into 2020, thanks in large part to his partnership with Caicedo. Zahibo is a significant commitment, though, as he eats up $583,000 in salary.

Forwards

Juan Agudelo – The Revs signed Agudelo to a multi-year contract in December. It’s unclear whether 2020 is an option year or not, so the Revolution could have a big decision to make about whether to bring back a forward who recorded one goal and three assists in 28 appearances.

Gustavo Bou – Arguably the most important signing in Revolution history will be back in 2020 and looking to build on his nine-goals, 14-game season with a full year of action.

Teal Bunbury – He had a streaky 2019 season – five of his six regular season goals came during a six-game stretch – which isn’t good enough for a club with lofty ambitions. His teammates and coaches praise him for his veteran leadership, both on the field and in the locker room, but Bunbury probably won’t be the team’s offensive spearhead in 2020.

Juan Fernando Caicedo – Caicedo joined the Revolution on loan from Independiente Medellin last winter. He’s got a permanent transfer option, though it’s unknown whether the Revs will want to exercise it. Caicedo, who was on the hook for $500,000 in 2019, showed flashes of brilliance, with five goals and two assists in 27 appearances, but never really pushed Bunbury out as a starting striker.

Cristian Penilla – Arguably the team’s best winger, Penilla’s form improved late in the season after starting the year on the periphery. Arena made an effort to acclimate Penilla to the Revolution’s style of play in the summer, and there were signs it paid off in September and October. His contributions dipped in 2019 – he scored five goals (down from 13 in 2018) but should nevertheless be considered part of the team’s core going into 2020.

Brian Wright – Wright made just two senior team appearances in 2019 and spent most of the season on loan at Birmingham Legion, where he scored five goals and added four assists in 25 games. If he’s back in 2020, it’s either as a depth piece or with Revolution II.

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