Don’t look now, Revs fans, but the offseason has officially come to a close. Players are officially back in New England and beginning preparations for the 2024 season.
We out here.📍 pic.twitter.com/amvFN983oM
— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) January 15, 2024
New England entered the offseason with more questions than answers. Questions like: Who will play in goal? Who is going to coach? Can New England survive their current list of injuries?
Those questions have now, mostly, been answered. To varying degrees of confidence.
The Revs has grown accustomed to reloading/rebuilding on the fly. They’ve had to. In recent seasons, they’ve sold a handful of players abroad – with former players currently at clubs like Chelsea, Inter Milan, Nottingham Forest, and Antalyaspor. 2023 was no exception with the Revs making a handful of moves mid season.
As such New England had a fairly complete roster, but one that left them little roster building flexibility for the offseason.
The #NERevs currently have 28/30 roster spots filled. Only 2 senior roster spots open. This was just a quick look, so may have some errors.
All 10 supplemental spots currently filled, so I'm not necessarily expecting a 1st team signing in the SuperDraft tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/P6ye3qfxl0
— Andy From Revs Nation (@AndyRevsNation) December 18, 2023
After a few offseason moves, the Revs appear to have a full roster. So let’s take a look at those offseason moves, and assess how those players fit within the squad. I’ve given each move below a score out of 10, with 5 points each being assigned to quality and fit.
Chancalay – 9/10 (quality-5, fit-4)
This isn’t technically a new signing, but rather a purchase of a player already on loan. Chancalay has been with the Revs since July. Which is exactly how we know this is a good signing.
With a lot of international signings you don’t get the luxury knowing exactly how they’ll perform in MLS. That’s not the case for Tomas Chancalay who scored 6 goals in just 11 appearances on the wing for the Revs last season. He was among the best wingers in MLS last season in terms of shots, xG, and goals.
It’s worth noting that he joined the Revs at an extremely inopportune time. He amassed that stat-line while playing for a distracted, floundering Revs team. His contract is a DP deal. I’m fairly confident he’ll be able to produce at a DP level.
Nick Lima – 7.5/10 (quality-2.5, fit-5)
This trade was among the earliest rumors of the offseason, with word spreading before the trade window officially opened.
While things didn’t go to plan last year at this former club, he still logged 75-80% if the teams available minutes last season.
He is a savvy veteran defender capable of putting in solid performsances. He is slightly below average defensively and slightly above average in the attack. Or, possibly the opposite?
Most importantly, however, he’s valuable depth at a position that has been criminally shallow in New England for a while now. Notably, a position that needs cover during Brandon Bye’s recovery.
It’s a move the Revs should have made last season, but better late than never.
Ema Boateng: 7/10 (quality 3, fit-4)
Boateng shouldn’t be a new name to Revs fans. He’s been a fan favorite around these parts for years. It appears the Revs took a page out of their own playbook by once again declining Boateng’s contact option, only to renegotiate with him back to the senior minimum salary.
Setting aside the fact that he should clearly be making more money, he seems happy to be back.
The show goes on!!! ❤️💙
— Ema boateng (@Emaboateng) January 2, 2024
The fit here is seemles. He projects for a similar role as last year: spot starter/speedy sub capable of punishing tired defenses.
However, for as electric as he can be off the bench, it bears pointing out that he’s failed to make a strong enough impression to earn more than ~1,500 minutes since 2017. On several coaches. That includes his time at Columbus under current Revs head coach Caleb Porter.
Jonathan Mensah: 7/10 (quality-3, fit-4)
While many of the other moves the Revs made this offseason feel like they would have happened no matter who the coach was, Jonathan Mensah feels like a uniquely Caleb Porter hire.
The Ghanaian international centerback has played in Ghana, South Africa, Italy, Spain, France and Russia, and piled up 70 appearances with his national team. More importantly, however, is that he played under Caleb Porter from 2019-2022 in Columbus. The former DP captained the Crew in 2020, when they won their 2nd MLS cup (with Porter at the helm).
At 33 he’s no spring chicken, and probably isn’t at a point where he can contribute 2500 minutes, but that’s not why he’s here. With the starting centerback pairing all but locked in as Romney and Kessler, Mensah is an ideal candidate to soak up whatever minutes arise due to injury.
Given Henry Kessler’s track record in recent years, he may see a fair amount of the field.
This move also frees Andrew Farrell up to play at outside back, providing even more cover for Brandon Bye’s injury. It just makes sense.
Henrich Ravas: 8/10 (quality-3, fit-5)
I had a hard time figuring out how to grade this move on quality, because… well I simply don’t watch a ton of the Polish Ekstraklasa.
I can barely keep up with all the goings-on within MLS.
He was among the better keepers in the Polish top-flight at Widzew Łódź (I’ve heard it pronounced “vid-zev woodge”, but don’t hold me to that). His 12 clean sheets in 2022/2023 were 3rd best in the league. Meanwhile, his 1.3 goals conceded per 90 was the 6th worst mark that year.
The Best! pic.twitter.com/UvfbRafFcH
— Sebastian Zawalski (@s_lodz) January 6, 2024
That said, Polish fans seem to have a pretty positive association with him. And given GK coach Kevin Hitchcock’s track record at developing EPL caliber keepers, he’s got potential.
The fit couldn’t be better. Primarily because of this next transaction
Tomas Vaclik out: ??/10
What a mess the whole Tomas Vaclik situation was. I won’t pretend to know what things were like within the locker room, but something just didn’t click between the Revs and Vaclik.
As a result, after playing exactly 0 minutes for the Revs, he was bought out of his contract. With the Revs having fewer spots than players at the time, the move made a lot of sense.
We never got to see what he looked like on the field, so it’s hard to know just how good he could have been. Maybe he’s past his prime, and it wouldn’t have been worthwhile to try to mend the relationship. However, if he goes on to sign somewhere else and performs well, this could be a moment fans look back on with regret.
The Revs signed academy/homegrown midfielder Malcolm Fry on October 18th, continuing their recent trend of pushing academy players to the first team.
As the ancient proverb goes, “Malcolm Fry giveth the shot. Malcolm Fry taketh the shot.”
— MLS NEXT (@MLSNEXT) June 30, 2022
I like what I’ve seen from him so far, but more development will be needed.
Miller signed with the first team back in June but wasn’t eligible to play for the Revs until 2024. He’s one of the more exciting prospects to come through the Revs system in a long time.
The youngest player to sign an #NERevs Homegrown contract ✅
The youngest player to make his professional debut with Revolution II ✅
The youngest player to score his first pro goal✅ pic.twitter.com/nCWwpM7BXJ
— New England Revolution II (@NERevolution2) July 10, 2023
He’s consistently played beyond his years which is what allowed him to become the youngest signing in Revolution history at just 15 years 216 days of age.
This is yet another signing made a while back – this time all the way back in November 2022 – with the intention to play in 2023.
— Sam Minton (@Sam_Minton22) November 28, 2022
The 6’5” centerback impressed with Sacramento Republic’s academy and with the USYNT, earning a move to New England. He is, like the others in this section, a developmental piece at this point. But the future looks bright!