FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Revolution front office will take another step in preparing for the 2019 season next week by deciding which of its current players to keep and cut.
A number of Revolution players spoke at length about their contract situation and their future with the club during an end-of-season media availability following their 1-0 victory over the Montreal Impact on Oct. 28.
Overall, it appears as though a significant chunk of New England’s core faces great uncertainty about returning in 2019. However, the club did permanently acquire both Cristian Penilla and Luis Caicedo, who were in Foxborough on loan deals last season, on Friday.
After finishing the season eighth in the Eastern Conference with a 10-13-11 record and missing out on the playoffs for the third straight year, the Revolution seem set for a rebuild and may actually want to blow up their roster.
Regardless, the Revs can’t cut too many players at once as they then run the risk of not finding adequate replacements quickly enough. There’s also a chance they lose players during the re-entry drafts, expansion draft and potentially next spring when the transfer window opens.
Here’s a breakdown of every player on the New England Revolution’s 2018 roster and a their chances of returning next year:
Michael Mancienne – Mancienne is the only defender that will almost certainly be back in New England next year. Not only is he under contract for the entire 2019 season, but he’s also the highest-paid defender in club history. The Revs made an enormous investment in Mancienne in August, so it only makes sense to give their big cash splash one full season to lead the back line.
Teal Bunbury – The Revolution striker had the second-most goals on the team this year. Bunbury, is entering an option year for the 2019 season. Though Bunbury’s form wavered during New England’s summer swoon, it’s tough to rationalize cutting him unless other offensive reinforcements arrive.
Matt Turner – There’s no reason to suggest the Revolution won’t reach an agreement for Turner to sign a new contract this December. Turner played in most of the Revolution’s 2018 matches and asserted himself as one the league’s best shot-stoppers. Turner is still young and needs more time to develop — particularly when it comes to coming off his line — but his performances last season showed that he’ll likely be back.
Isaac Angking – A homegrown player, Angking showed promise in limited appearances. Additionally, there was a sense that Revolution coach Brad Friedel wished he could have used Angking more.
Scott Caldwell – Another homegrown player, Caldwell saw his playing time in central midfield decrease thanks to the emergence of Luis Caicedo. However, Caldwell is a valuable piece to the team in transitions and in keeping possession, boasting one of the league’s best passing accuracies.
Cristian Penilla – Penilla was in New England on loan last year. However, Penilla’s loan from Pachuca came with a purchase option, and the Revs executed that option earlier this week.
Luis Caicedo – The above goes for Caicedo, too, who also has a purchase option on his loan deal.
Probably staying put
Antonio Delamea – Once again, the Revs back line was nothing to celebrate in 2018. Delamea and his teammates left much to be desired. That said, the Revs have made a relatively sizeable investment in Delamea and should opt to see it through, especially since he brings plenty of experience to the table and has a U.S. green card, meaning he doesn’t occupy an international roster spot.
Brad Knighton – The Revs need a capable back-up goalkeeper and they certainly have that in Knighton, who is also under contract for the 2019 season due to the deal he signed in 2017. The only way Knighton won’t be back is if he’s deemed tradeable or gets selected by Cincinnati in the expansion draft.
Andrew Farrell – One of the Revolution’s rotating captains in 2018, Farrell made some progress in improving his attacking skills and was named the team’s Defender of the Year. He scored his first two professional goals during the 2018 season.
Zachary Herivaux – It is unclear what Herivaux’s position is going forward – is he a defensive midfielder, a right back, or a no. 10? Regardless, Friedel clearly sees a place for him.
Jalil Anibaba – Anibaba was one of the most consistent defenders on the team last year, which doesn’t say much when you take into account the team’s defensive record. As a depth piece, Anibaba works out just fine. He can play as either a central defender or at full back.
Brandon Bye – Though many rookies don’t survive into their second year in MLS, Bye did well enough for himself to merit another look. He showed he’s capable of playing on both the left and right sides, which is an asset for any team.
Brian Wright – Friedel spoke highly of Wright all season. Wright rewarded Friedel by scoring the game-winning goal in a 1-0 decision at NYCFC in September. Wright works well as a depth piece.
Diego Fagundez – The face of the franchise is either angling for an overseas move or threatening to leave the Revolution for leverage on a new contract. Fagundez’s father and agent, Washington, speculated that his son’s days in Foxborough could be finished. This would be a significant loss to the Revolution, both on and off the field, and would make the expected rebuild of 2019 a lot more tough.
Wilfried Zahibo – Zahibo made the MLS All-Star team and asserted himself as a physical, attack-minded ball-winner in the center of the pitch. That said, he was sometimes clumsy when it came to defending set pieces. The Revs may not want a player prone to those type of blunders when he’s taking up an international roster spot and making $544,000, according to the MLS Players Union.
Mark Segbers – Segbers works well as a depth piece on the flanks or on the back line, but barely saw any playing time in New England in 2018.
Kelyn Rowe – The Revs have some decisions to make with Rowe, who is entering his final season in New England before being eligible for free agency. Rowe has had offers from overseas despite seeing his value decrease tremendously in 2018. Given what’s left on Rowe’s contract and his declining contributions, it may be smart for the Revolution to trade him to another team like, say, Rowe’s hometown Seattle Sounders FC. The Revolution can either trade Rowe in the coming months and get something in return or let him walk for free at the end of 2019.
Christhian Machado – The press in Machado’s native Bolivia speculated that family reasons were the sole motivation for the player leaving Cochabamba to sign for New England. In any case, his contract is up on Dec. 31, unless the Revs opt to pick up the first of his three options.
Gabriel Somi – The heir to Chris Tierney went from starter to not even making the bench less than halfway to the season. Somi is a left back but struggled at defending. His speed is an asset and he clearly has a love for joining in the attack but his future in New England, if he has one at all, probably won’t be as a defender.
Guillermo Hauche – Hauche’s quest for his first professional goal will have to wait another year. This was one of the most bizarre signings in Revolution history, so who knows if the front office wants to keep the Argentinian around.
Chris Tierney – Is Tierney the next club legend to retire? Tierney started the season as a back-up to Somi, but blew out his ACL on a non-contact injury to end his campaign. At 32, that could be a tough injury to bounce back from.
Juan Agudelo – Rumors indicate that Agudelo may want to make another attempt at playing overseas. Teams in Spain, Turkey, and the Netherlands have already inquired about his services. He would be a free transfer for any team outside MLS, as his current contract expires on Dec. 31.
Claude Dielna – Dielna started the season as team captain but Friedel clearly started to regret that decision. He removed Dielna from the match 18 in August and the player never returned to the fold. In any case, Dielna said during exit interviews that he wasn’t coming back.
Nicolas Samoyoa – Samoyoa went on loan and notched an appearance in the U.S. Open Cup, but was largely on the fringes.
Cody Cropper – A former U.S. national team prospect, there is no way Cropper is satisfied being a second or third-stringer in New England. Who knows? Maybe Nashville, or another MLS team, makes an effort to acquire the young goalkeeper.
Femi Hollinger-Janzen – After a sparkling start to his professional career, Hollinger-Janzen has regressed into the periphery. He spent most of 2018 on loan with the Tulsa Roughnecks of the USL but only made on appearance.