The New England Revolution are looking to build on a playoff berth in 2020. To do so, here are five key players who must step up to the plate and deliver.
With just over two days until the New England Revolution’s season opener against Montreal, fans are excited about how the team is coming together. Bruce Arena has now had a full offseason to instil his ideas into the team, while the talent that was already at the club last year has been bolstered with some smart offseason moves.
The Revolution will be looking to make the playoffs once more and potentially provide a more threatening opponent for the elite members of the Eastern Conference. But to do that, they need their players to step up and deliver.
And so, the question remains, who are the five most important players for the New England Revolution in 2020? Well, here are five key players to watch.
5. Wilfried Zahibo
Entering his third season with New England, Wilfried Zahibo is a 6’2″ central defensive-minded midfielder who will be critical to the Revolution’s spine in 2020. Often, these type of players aren’t flashy but are vitally important to the success of a side. Zahibo will be tasked to hunt down opponents, break-up play, and get the ball to the playmakers.
The former Valencia man is now 26 and in his prime years as a player. The last two seasons, he has been a solid player but does have some down performances when his spotty distribution gets the better of him. If Zahibo can take the next step in 2020 to help the Revolution concede fewer goals and instigate attacks from deep, New England will be set on both ends of the field.
4. Alexander Buttner
New signing Alexander Buttner will be expected to bring experience to New England’s backline. The former Manchester United player has a wealth of European matches under his belt and still has a few years left in his prime.
Talking to revolutionsoccer.net, Bruce Arena said, ‘Alexander brings experience at the game’s most competitive levels, and his skill and pedigree will make him an important asset for the club on and off the field.’ Much has been made of the Revolution’s offensive weapons, but what may define their season is how many goals they concede at the other end. Buttner’s arrival should help in that department.
3. Carles Gil
Unfortunately for the New England Revolution, their 2019 Player of the Year has not had the best preseason. Carles Gil has been suffering from a foot injury and it is reported that he is set to miss to the season opener on Saturday. It really is a shame as Gil produced double-digit goal and assist numbers in 2019, one of only four players to achieve the feat.
Looking ahead to 2020, New England will hope that Gil can recover quickly and get integrated into the side. He is the creative fulcrum of the team, a truly unique attacking midfielder who can provide passes and moments of creativity that no other player can replicate. He is singular, and the Revolution need him at his best.
2. Adam Buksa
New signing Adam Buksa has all the tools to become a budding star in MLS: height, physicality, youth, great finishing ability. The 23-year-old scored 11 times for Pogon Szczecin in Poland last season and displayed the natural eye for goal that every great goalscoring striker possesses.
He has also hit the ground running in preseason, already bagging a goal and showing off some great link-up play. If Buksa can form a connection with Carles Gil and others early this season, the sky is the limit for New England’s attack this season.
1. Gustavo Bou
The superstar in the making that’s arguably under-the-radar in comparison to other MLS players, Gustavo Bou bagged nine goals in his first 14 appearances for the New England Revolution. He single-handedly inspired New England’s strong end of the season run.
The Argentinean can line up as the striker, left-winger, or as a second forward, meaning he’s extremely hard to plan against. If he continues his form from last season, I mentioned that Bou projects to score around 20 goals in MLS play this season.
Those are huge numbers for the winger. When combined with the other attacking weapons, it could carry New England deep into the playoffs.