MLS Team Guide: New England Revolution
Ahead of the 2021 MLS season, Richard Fleming introduces us to the teams set to face the Colorado Rapids. Of the 15 opponents the Rapids will face in the regular season, New England Revolution will be number 15.
First season in MLS: 1996
Honors: U.S. Open Cup winners (2007)
Stadium: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts
Head Coach: Bruce Arena (appointed May 2019)
History with the Rapids
Two MLS originals first met on May 25, 1996 in what was the eighth game of the inaugural season for the Rapids. Two late goals from Roy Wegerle (his first in MLS) and Jean Harbor took the game to what was a first shootout for the Rapids (tied games were decided this way until 1999). The Revs played 87 minutes with 10 men after goalkeeper Aiden Heaney was sent off.
Over the years, the Rapids and Revs have been involved in a number of high-scoring contests. These include a 4-3 win in Foxborough for the Rapids in 2000, a 3-3 draw at the same venue a year later, plus a 5-2 success for the Rapids at Mile High Stadium in 2002.
The Revolution have enjoyed big results themselves, defeating the Rapids 6-1 at Gillette Stadium in September 2004, for only their sixth win of the year. The Rapids had gone into the game chasing an 11th win on the season. Steve Ralston, Taylor Twellman and Pat Noonan all bagged a brace.
Up until 2012, the teams would meet multiple times a season. Since 2012, they have become less familiar, facing one another just once per year, though not since 4th July 2019, when numerous weather delays forced the game into the early hours of 5th July in a 2-1 loss for the Rapids.
They had clashed twice previously on 4th July, in 2004 (W 1-0) and 2006 (W 3-2). The win in 2004 came courtesy of Cuban striker Alberto Delgado, with his only goal in MLS. Two years later, Twellman and Clint Dempsey scored for the Revs, but two from Nicolas Hernandez and one from Kyle Beckerman were enough for victory in the final 4th July game at Mile High.
New England have held the upper hand for the last 10 years. In 10 meetings since 2011, the Rapids have a 2-6-2 record against the Revs.
Head-to-head record: 20-17-9
Last meeting: L 2-1, 7/4/19 at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park
Bruce Arena’s side went all the way to the Eastern Conference Championship game, losing 1-0 to eventual MLS Cup champions Columbus Crew.
They finished eighth at the end of the regular season, with an 8-7-8 record. That ought to have been better, but the Revs could only muster two home wins all season, while winning five on the road.
Leading the line for the Revs was veteran striker Teal Bunbury. He scored eight goals, a tally only bettered twice in the previous 10 seasons – in 2018 (11) and 2011 (9) – and while playing far fewer games.
He was offered supported by Designated Player Adam Buksa from Poland. In his first season, Buksa managed a respectable six goals and four assists.
New England got off to a steady start, nothing more. They had one win in their opening six games, which came during the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando, all while scoring just four goals.
Overall, this was a team which dipped under the radar. They would win a few, lose a few, but always kept in touch with the playoff places, of which there were 10 up for grabs in the Eastern Conference.
They were one of only two teams to beat New York City at Yankee Stadium, but it was in the playoffs in which they came alive. Seeded eighth, they defeated Montreal Impact in the play-in round. The next three games would all be on the road. Next, they knocked out the Supporters’ Shield winners Philadelphia Union at Subaru Park, before seeing off Orlando City by a two-goal margin.
That set them on collision course with Columbus, which proved a step too far.
Arena’s assembled something of a mixed bag during the offseason, identifying options using all available avenues. He brought in MLS known quantities in Emmanuel Boateng, A.J. DeLaGarza, and Earl Edwards Jr, all as free agents. He worked extensively with DeLaGarza when with LA Galaxy, and was Boateng was acquired by the Galaxy when Arena was in charge.
Two players have come in from the Revolution II, in Jon Bell and Maciel, while the Revs have looked to Europe for the likes of Icelandic midfielder Arnór Ingvi Traustason and Cameroon-born Wilfrid Kaptoum.
They also have a new left-back, with Christian Mafla joining from Colombian club Atlético Nacional.
On the flip side, there were a number of known names heading for the exit. Austin took Diego Fagundez and Kekuta Manneh. Kelyn Rowe is now at Seattle Sounders, while former US international midfielder Lee Nguyen is in his second spell in Vietnam.
Players To Watch
Gustavo Bou: the Designated Player from Argentina, 31-year-old Bou was third-top scorer last season (5), and has a total of 14 goals in 32 appearances since arriving mid-2019. He was on fire in the playoffs, scoring three times in four games. Bou is a player with bags of experience, spending 12 years playing in his homeland, Mexico, and Ecuador, at River Plate, Club Tijuana, and L.D.U. Quito.
Adam Buksa: the Polish striker (pictured right) will be 25 by the time the Rapids play the Revs in October, and well into his second season in MLS. Despite the stop-start nature of 2020, Buksa still managed six goals and two assists. He featured in all 23 games, starting 16 of them.
Arnór Ingvi Traustason: signed last month from Malmo. Traustason was a Swedish league champion with Malmo and IFK Norrköping, and also won the Greek title with AEK Athens. He represented Iceland at the FIFA 2018 World Cup and 2016 UEFA European Championship.
In: Jon Bell (Revolution II), Emmanuel Boateng (free agent), A.J. DeLaGarza (free agent), Earl Edwards Jr (free agent), Wilfrid Kaptoum (Real Betis, Spain), Edward Kizza (MLS Superdraft), Maciel (Revolution II), Christian Mafla (Atlético Nacional, Colombia), Arnór Ingvi Traustason (Malmö FF, Sweden)
Out: Isaac Angking, Jeff Caldwell (Hartford Athletic), Antonio Delamea (Olimpija Ljubljana, Slovenia), Diego Fagundez (Austin FC), Nicolas Firmino, Kekuta Manneh (Austin FC), Michael Mancienne (Burton Albion, England), Lee Nguyen (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam), Cristian Penilla, Kelyn Rowe (Seattle Sounders), Seth Sinovic.
Meetings in 2021:
October 27 (away)
Click HERE for the full Rapids schedule.
Did You Know?
Revs’ head coach, Bruce Arena, was in charge of the US national side when Robin Fraser made his final appearance, in a 0-0 draw with Ecuador on June 7, 2001.
Pablo Mastroeni came off the bench in that game, for current US head coach Gregg Berhalter. While it was Fraser’s last cap for the national team, Mastroeni was making his senior international debut.