A few weeks ago I wrote a piece that tried to nail down where the Revolution most needed reinforcements for the 2023 season. In short? Kind of everywhere. With particular emphasis on the spine of the team. Striker, central midfield, and centerback all, to varying degrees, need some shoring up before the new year.
Centerback may have just vaulted to the front of the list.
.@astrobell23 has been selected by @stlCITYsc in tonight's Expansion Draft.
Thank you and all the best! pic.twitter.com/ZIhIBSX8Ok
— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) November 12, 2022
Jon Bell was selected in the MLS expansion draft by the fledgling St Louis City. It’s a smart pick for the expansion side. Young inexpensive American centerbacks (particularly ones with regular minutes) are worth their weight in gold in this league. Bell may also appreciate the move, as it may give him a better chance at playing regular starting minutes. He was firmly behind Andrew Farrell and Henry Kessler (and sometimes Omar Gonzalez) during his time in New England.
The Revs, for their part may not be too heartbroken over this move. They’ll get $50K in MLS funny-money to help build the team and they’ll reclaim another roster spot. Furthermore there’s some indication that they were already in the market for a centerback in the offseason.
The #NERevs are working hard to sign a "big name" center-back in the Free Agent window, I’m told. The team contacted domestic and international Free Agents in the last few days.
The FA window opens on November 16th.
— Gustavo Lopes 🇧🇷🇺🇸 (@TheGusLopes) November 8, 2022
With the opening of the MLS free agency window on the 16th, let’s take a look at some available candidates from within the league.
Long is sure to be the most coveted CB in free agency. He’s a fringe USMNTer who missed out on going to the World Cup after an injury sidelined him for much of qualifying. His quality play with the Red Bulls earned him interest from some of the biggest clubs in Europe. Unfortunately, shortly thereafter, an achilles injury left him sidelined through the end of the 2021 season. He has since rebounded with aplomb, making 30 appearances and scoring 4 goals in 2022. He’s the most talented option available.
On this date in 2019, #RBNY defender Aaron Long scored for the #USMNT in a 4-1 win over Canada in the Nations League.
Avenging a horrible loss in Toronto, the US re-established order. Long's goal made it 3-0 in the 34th minute. The US would—eventually—win the Nations League. pic.twitter.com/UZAHf24SbN
— Today In RBNY History (@RBNY_History) November 15, 2022
That, however, comes with a price. Word on the street is that a DP level salary may be the asking price, in line with that of, another USMNTer, Walker Zimmerman.
The Revs don’t have the DP spots available, so unless he’s flexible on salary, I don’t see this one getting done.
At 30 years old, Callens isn’t a future minded option. That said, he’s been a stalwart for a very good NYCFC team for years now. His 7.19 average FotMob rating is the highest of anyone on this list, this season.
He wouldn’t be cheap, but he’d be cheaper than Aaron Long, making him a viable option in free agency.
Silva isn’t the highest rated player on this list, but he’s been a regular starter for RSL. He’s even older than Callens, at 33, but would be an inexpensive addition. With 2 goals in 2022 he can add something on set pieces as well.
.@realsaltlake's Marcelo Silva powers home the game-tying goal! 💥💥 pic.twitter.com/D0p6sY99gD
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 21, 2019
The draw here is really his consistency. He started 32 games last season, playing every minute in 31 of them. With all the injury concerns on defense last season, that kind of reliability would be welcome.
Hedges is another example of a good player, perhaps past his prime. He’s 32 years old and, as it turns out, not getting any younger. That said, he’s been an absolute rock for the FC Dallas back line for nearly a decade.
It’s for that reason that he may be tough to acquire. FC Dallas are reportedly interested in re-signing the center back and he may want to play out the remainder of his career in the place that made him the youngest team captain in club history.
What’s more, New England tried signing an aging, expensive center back last off-season and it… hasn’t really worked out. I’d be surprised if Bruce were looking to go down that road again.
Are there any free agents you’d like to see end up in New England, let us know on social media!