Prior to the 2023 season on an episode of Revolution Recap, three writers covering the New England Revolution from three different websites took part in the Inaugural Revolution Goalscorer Draft. All three writers selected players they expected to score for the Revolution in 2023, forming teams of eight.

While the field seemed level coming out of the draft, Greg Johnstone of The Blazing Musket ran away with the first-ever championship, carried by Carles Gil, who led the team in goals, and Bobby Wood, whose early-season hot streak made a critical difference. This year, Greg’s competitors – Andy Judd of Boston Sports Nation and Caleb Pongratz of Prost Soccer – are back for revenge.  

This year, the draft has been expanded to include a 9th round and goals in all competitions (not just MLS regular season) will count towards the overall tally. 

Additionally, players don’t have to be on the current roster in order to be selected, which includes players on Revs II, in the Revs Academy, or not even currently on the Revolution are eligible to be selected. For example, Ian Harkes was eligible to be selected last season and would’ve netted two goals for whoever picked him, since that’s the number of goals he scored with the Revolution. 

After finishing in third place last year, Caleb has chosen to go third – and taking advantage of the turn in the snake draft – while Andy chose to go second. With the ground rules spelled out, the results of this year’s draft is below.                                                                                                    

Draft Results and Discussion

Pick 1 – Greg Johnstone (The Blazing Musket): Tomas Chancalay

I considered staying loyal to Carles Gil, whose 11 goals last season helped me clinch the inaugural title. But Tomas’ debut with the Revolution in 2023 was too hard to ignore. Not only did he register six goals in under 900 minutes, but he was able to fire 4.3 shots/90 mins in that short timespan. Tomas will get his chances and if he stays healthy should hit double digits this year.


Andy: Greg rightly mentions Chancalay’s 4.3 shots/90. That puts him in the 100th percentile among wingers (data from FotMob). Not the 95th, not the 99th. Extrapolating that 4.3 shots/90 over the length of a full season, you end up with an absurd 145 shots. Shots correlate strongly to goals, as it turns out, so I like this pick a lot. 

Caleb: Chancalay is the expected #1 overall pick. I think statistically if he remains healthy, he should lead the team in scoring… He without any doubt is a contender in the MVP race if he remains healthy, and I expect him to score 12+ goals this season. It will be detrimental to him to connect with Borrero, Vrioni, and Gil, so that the 4 of them can work off of each other and successfully get the job done.


Pick 2 – Andy Judd (Boston Sports Nation): Carles Gil

I, too, considered the idea of Greg staying loyal to Carles Gil, who helped him win the title last year. 

While he makes what I think is the correct #1 pick, in Chancalay, Carles Gil is one heck of a consolation prize. Gil is one of the best players in the league and has seen his goals totals increase each of the last 2 seasons. He attempted the 4th most shots/90 on the team last year and did well with his chances.  According to AmericanSoccerAnalysis no player added more goals due to shot placement in 2023 than Carles Gil.

 

Caleb: I passed on Carles Gil last season and it was a massive mistake. I think that Carles’ caliber led him to have a fantastic year last season. He takes the PKs.. He takes the Freekicks.. It’s expected that Gil will get atleast 5-6 … maybe more.. My case for not taking him last year was that he’d pass more than score… and I was wrong.. We’ll see how he fairs this season.. Great choice.


Pick 3 – Caleb Pongratz (Prost Soccer): Giacomo Vrioni. 

Of everyone on New England… Open Shot. Fate of the Universe on the line… Where the Martians have the death beam pointed at Earth… You better hit it…. I want GIACOMO VRIONI. I am doubling down on Giacomo Vrioni. I want him to take those shots. With Gustavo Bou gone, He is the dude. It is his time to rise to the occasion. He had 9 goals in all comps last year, and my hot take of the season, if he plays the way he should… this is his MVP Year. 15 goals. Write it in.


Andy: Given Caleb Porter’s comments, and New England’s relative lack of depth at striker, you should be able to bank on Vrioni getting more than the 1,310 minutes he received last season. If that number ticks up towards 2,000 he stats out to a projected 9 goals, using last year’s pace. And he SHOULD get even more minutes than that. 

However, I was high on him last year too and that didn’t quite pan out. Ah well, as they say: fool me once… can’t get fooled again. 



4 – Caleb: Dylan Borrero

Luckily in this snake draft, I get blessed with essentially 2 Designated Players on my roster. If Borrero hadn’t gotten injured last season, he was going to produce in ways that aren’t even comprehensible. He had 2 goals in 8 games.. I expect 6-7 minimum. Love this pick and I’m excited to take the risk on Borrero’s timetable to return and to see what he will produce.

Greg: Caleb nailed the choice to go third and players available at these spots. He was either going to end up with Gil or Vrioni at 3, both of whom could be double-digit goalscorers, and the unlimited ceiling of Borrero. While I’m on the opposite end of the Vrioni spectrum, it’s hard to argue Caleb doesn’t have the best pair after 2 rounds. 


5 – Andy: Bobby Wood

This pick relies on 2 cold, hard truths. 1) 2023 Bobby Wood still had some gas in the tank and 2) Giacomo Vrioni’s struggles left the door wide open for Wood to show off his tenacity and nose for goal. While Vrioni was having difficulty making the starting XI, Wood racked up 7 goals. 

I’m not necessarily counting on that happening again. But I’m not not counting on it. 

Greg: Andy’s draft of Gil at pick #2 and Wood at pick #5 is identical to mine last year, so historically this should go well for him. Wood was last year’s best value with 7 goals, and if Vrioni struggles again, Wood will get some playing time and might be the best value at #5 again. 

Caleb: Following Greg’s first 2 picks last year.. It worked out for him, not sure how it will work out for Andy… Wood should get exceptional minutes this year, however, when Borrero returns healthy, and if Vrioni is not up to speed, I expect Chancalay to start as the #9 … We’ll see … I expect 3-4 goals from Wood.


6 – Greg: Esmir Bajraktarevic

You have to go back to 2015 to find the last time the Revs had more than six 3+ goal scorers in a season, so this is not a favorable spot to be in with my top 5 picks off the board. With that said, Esmir Bajraktarevic has the potential to really break out this year. Borrero is out for the beginning of the season and Esmir is coming off his USMNT debut. He should get some minutes early in the year and, while he hasn’t registered a MLS goal yet, he scored 8 goals with Revs 2 and had first team goal in Leagues Cup in 2023.

 

Andy: I like this pick and almost made it myself. With Borrero out to start the year I expect Esmir to be firmly in the hunt for starting minutes until May, if not longer. Given how confidently he played with the USMNT, he could quickly make a name for himself if given the opportunity.

Caleb: Really wished he came back around.. Think he will be a valuable asset while Borrero recovers.. Hope he makes a name for himself


7 – Greg: Noel Buck

I’m not totally in love with this pick, as Noel is in a crowded midfield and maybe bound of Europe in the summer? But, Noel has four goals in just over 2,000 MLS minutes with the first team, and if he finds himself as a regular starter throughout the year, could notch 5+ goals easily with his talent. So I’m doubling down on youth. Play the kids, Porter!

 

Caleb: I don’t like this pick at all. I don’t think that Buck will be here come July 1st.. I hope it works out for Greg, however, I don’t see Buck scoring as much as he hopes. Maybe with Kaye out, he beats out Harkes & the rest of the field.. Play the Kids?

Andy: I will contradict the others and say that I very much like this pick and would have made it myself if he’d been available. Yes, he could make a move to Europe mid season. But that would likely come on the heels of another impressive half season. Last year he managed 3 goals in about 1,700 minutes. He could get that by June 29th, vs the Crew, with how densely packed the schedule is. 


8 – Andy: DeJuan Jones

With most of the forwards off the board I chose to take Caleb Porter at his word. Namely, that he likes for his teams to combine in the wide areas of the field. 

Fullbacks are an integral part of Porter’s attacking buildup and, in Dejuan Jones, he’ll have a player ideally suited to that vision. His speed, dribbling, and passing prowess already place him in the 99th percentile for touches and the 85th percentile for chances created. 

He may be serving the ball up more often than he’ll be putting it home, but I’m banking on that involvement paying dividends. 

 

Greg: I’ll add another part of DeJuan’s game that could sneakily come into play here: Penalty Kicks. Jones has delivered some quality PKs in Leagues Cup and Champions League over the past few years. I wouldn’t bet on him getting a PK, but in the off chance Gil isn’t on the field, DeJuan isn’t very far down the order. 

Caleb: The expectation is for DeJuan to get you 2-3 goals a season.. Its a good choice.. Especially with how Porter usually facilitates 3-back formations with wide wingbacks. He could be a valuable asset going forward.. 


9 – Caleb: Matt Polster

One of the only New England Revolution goal scorers this preseason. I like Polster’s odds to start almost every game. I worry about his card accumulation and missing games, however, I expect a handful of goals from him.. 2? Maybe 3? Brittney Polster would agree this is a good choice.

 

Greg: Polster has scored two goals in each of the past three seasons and I bet he’ll end up getting another two again (assuming he’s healthy and remains a full time starter). I considered taking him with my picks, but his goal upside was a little bit lower to Esmir and Buck, who both are 5+ goal contenders. Either way, a steady pick here. 


10 – Caleb: Ian Harkes

9 games, 7 starts, 2 goals in 2023. Harkes was noted by a handful as a nepotism signing in #NERevs land, and he dropped 2 goals in his first game for New England. His Adam’s Apple fracture in 2023 kept him out of a handful of games, and I think bare that injury, he would’ve produced. I think he’ll be competing with Buck for the last spot against MAK (out first 3 games of the year due to red card), and I think he’ll make a solid impact this year.

 

Andy: I feel like we were robbed of seeing just how good Harkes could be last year due to an unfortunate injury. A fractured Adams Apple took him out for 6 matches near the end of the year. Up until that point he had shown some great versatility and even scored a brace against DC United. Crowded midfield caveat applies, but he’s a good pick at this stage of our draft. 


11 – Andy: Ema Boateng

Would it surprise you to hear that Ema Boateng had a higher xG/90 in 2023 than Dylan Borrero? 

For reference, Boateng’s 0.21 xG/90 was higher than Borrero’s 0.17, and only slightly behind Chancalay’s 0.25 and Gil’s 0.26.

That’s good company for the 30 year old but he’ll need minutes to contribute goals. And with Chancalay, Nacho Gil, Borrero and Bajraktarevic all capable on the wings, minutes may be hard to come by.

 

Caleb: I think Ema Boateng is a pass-first type player, hence the reasoning why I did not select him in my back-to-back snake selections.. I think he’ll give a couple of great looks and will have a handful of chances, but don’t think he’ll bag more than 3 goals.

Greg: I don’t really know what to make of Boateng and his role with the Revs, as he’s had his contract option declined each of the past two years and both times he’s returned. I’d say that may mean he’ll take a lesser role, but he returned last season after trailing in preseason, then started 16 games. He’s effective when he plays, so if he’s out there, this should pay dividends for Andy. 


12 – Greg: Brandon Bye

Once again, feels like there’s a bit of a drop off at this pick and at this point, I’m looking for who I know I can count on to get on the board. I took Bye last year and will take him here again, despite him expected to miss a large amount of the year as he recovers from a torn ACL. He’s scored twice in each of the last two years, and has scored in every year outside of 2020. Even in limited time, I think his role as an attacking outside back and aerial ability on set pieces should guarantee him at least one goal this year. 

 

Caleb: Tough gamble on a wingback who is essentially out until late July / early August. I think it’s a good choice, but I hope that this injury doesn’t affect him long term. It will be tough for him to crack back into the starting XI depending on the form of Lima, Farrell, Miller, etc.. but we can hope.

Andy: It’s tough to see Bye fall this far in the draft because he’s such a good player. But ACL injuries are no joke. The hope is for him to return by the summer, but return timelines vary wildly for this type of injury. And there’s always the chance they ease him back into the rotation slowly, leaving his access to playing time completely up in the air. 


13 – Greg: Nacho Gil

I’m going to refer to Nacho as “Esmir insurance” where if Caleb Porter for whatever reason loses confidence in Esmir, Nacho might be the guy who gets some significant minutes on the wing. He hasn’t logged a goal for the Revs yet, but has some solid chemistry with Carles and could get on the board if he has a string of games.  

 

Caleb: I really don’t like you right now. That’s my guy. That’s my pick. #AnnounceNachoGil… How could you do this to me?

Andy: For the fantasy football crowd, Greg is essentially “handcuffing” Esmir with Nacho. It’s a smart tactical move here.


14 – Andy: Nick Lima

At some point I just started taking defenders. I can’t explain it. The logic behind this pick is the same as for Dejuan Jones above, with the exception that I don’t anticipate he’ll start the full year.

I DO think he’ll fill in for Brandon Bye while he recovers from his ACL surgery, which puts him somewhere in the ballpark of 16 starts. That number moves to 24 if Bye sits out until the League’s Cup break.

 

Greg: Andy has taken so many defenders I had to check the rules to make sure we won’t count our own goals. Lima has only scored once in the past three seasons and I had him down my order a little bit, but can’t argue much with Andy’s logic of taking guys he knows will be on the field.  

Caleb: Great choice. He was a threat for Austin when he played for them. Always got himself into scoring chances by playing in advanced positions. Think he’ll contribute a combination of 7+ g/a if he starts.


15 – Caleb: Malcolm Fry

The #NERevsII fan favorite. Not a single fan at Revolution II games had bad words to say about Malcolm Fry. 6 goals & 3 assists in 37 Revolution II appearances.. I think Fry makes an off-the-bench impact and gets to show his style. The 18-year-old is slick, and I really like his style of play.


16 – Caleb: Henry Kessler

King Kess. He’s had 1 goal in every season since 2020. He told Caleb Porter that he wants to score more and I think Caleb will help him do that. He’s the expected starter alongside Romney when healthy. I think he gets 4 goals this year. I don’t know why.. But Corner-lethal Kess is here.

 

Andy: I like this pick for all the reasons mentioned above. I do worry about his availability. He hasn’t been able to play a full season since 2020 and it’s concerning that he’s already sitting out preseason games…


17 – Andy: Dave Romney

Seeing that I’m now firmly in my “defenders only” era, I opted for Romney since I predict he’ll get the most opportunity. You gotta be on the field to score and he played every single minute of 2023. He could well do the same in 2024. 

 

Caleb: Solid choice. Guaranteed Starter when healthy. I Think he’ll bag 1-2 goals off of corner kicks this year. The Iron man should be a defensive rock, hopefully his offensive side comes out again.


18 – Greg: Mark-Anthony Kaye

This is going to be a boom-or-bust pick for me, as the goal production could widely vary. Kaye has scored in every season and has logged multiple goals in all but one year. He also had 10 starts with the Revs down the stretch of 2023, and it’s not unrealistic to see him get 1,500-2,000 minutes in a crowded midfield. On the other hard, there are some signs of concern, as he averaged 0.95 to 1.72 shots per 90 minutes in every season of his career before dropping to 0.45 between TFC and New England last year. 

 

Caleb: I think this a bust. He’s already out for the first 3 MLS games of the season. I think he’ll need to do a lot to get into scoring positions.. Not a fan of this one


19 – Greg: Damian Rivera

Rivera seems blocked from getting regular minutes, and I’m not sure how much he’ll see the field. The thing is, when he’s on the field, he can have an impact. In 620 career MLS minutes, he has 13 shots (1.89/90 minutes) and registered a goal in 2022. With this draft considering all competitions, including US Open Cup, I’ll roll the dice that Rivera gets a clean look at goal in a spot start or USOC and can add to my tally here.  

 

Caleb: I think this in MLS relations is a bust… However, in the US Open Cup, he’s the guy. I think he’ll be with Revs II more than the first team. He’ll get into scoring positions but not a fan of this one

Andy: I’m surprised I haven’t mentioned it already, but I put together a spreadsheet (of course) ahead of the draft. I plotted each player’s projected total shots in 2024. Rivera excels in the “shots-per-90” category (3, 3rd highest on the team). Where he falls flat is the “estimated-minutes-share” category. He had 180 minutes of play time last year and I wouldn’t be surprised if it were similar (or less) this year. 


20 – Andy: Jonathan Mensah

While I see Mensah as more of a backup at this stage of his career it’s worth noting that he scored 4 times with the Crew in 2021. He then notched 2 goals for Columbus the following season. Both while playing under Caleb Porter.

 

Caleb: This will be dependent on what his role is with the club. I think you have MAYBE 1 goal. But, it will be intriguing to see where he falls in the depth chart.


21 – Caleb: Peyton Miller

**Ahem** “LET’S GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” I love this choice. So shocked that he fell this far. Peyton Miller is the future. The 16-year-old had 3 goals and 3 assists in 25 games for the Revolution II last season. I think he gets good playing time this year. I think he is explosive and gets into positions to make a difference. Solid.

 

Greg: Is this a dynasty goalscorer draft? Miller has a bright future ahead of him, but I don’t know if I see him getting on the field much. Of course, similar to Rivera, the USOC makes this year’s draft a little more interesting.


22 – Caleb: Ryan Spaulding

I’m getting all of the fan favorites today. Ryan Spaulding. The Hair. So special. He had 2 goals and 4 assists while on loan with the Tampa Bay Rowdies last season. I think he has a shot to make appearances in the team due to Brandon Bye’s injury. He’ll be better backed if Jones moves to right back. #AnnounceRyanSpaulding is alive and well.


23 – Andy: Jack Panayotou

Just how many minutes the Revs cadre of young homegrowns could see under the new coaching staff remains uncertain. But I’ve been impressed with the little I’ve seen of Jack P over the last year. He’s still got some work to do to become a starting caliber player, but the talent is there. 

 

Caleb: Panayotou needs a Noel Buck caliber offseason. Needs to come back hungry, jacked, and ready to prove himself. I think he’ll get some minutes, but not as much as people expect. I had him last year and took the bait from Twitter pushing Panayotou-Mania… Only time will tell for him.


24 – Greg: Tommy McNamara

We’re only a year removed from Tommy Mac scoring four goals for the Revs in 2022. While injury sidelined him in 2023 (mostly), I’m rolling the dice an offseason of healing gets McNamara back on the board in 2024. Similar to Rivera though, I’m just not sure where the playing time will come in with a crowded midfield. 

 

Caleb: I honestly don’t think McNamara gets into many games this year. Crowded midfield. Play the Kids !


25 – Greg: Alberth Elis

Technically, we aren’t limited to players currently on the Revolution roster, so I’m going with a hail mary and selecting a player that could very well never play for the Revs. Elis was tied to the Revolution in the offseason, with New England trying to sign the former Dynamo player from his current Ligue 2 club, Bordeaux. Elis rejected the Revs over personal terms, but who is to say the Revs won’t try again in the summer if he’s still unsettled in France? Maybe an injury or transfer has made the Revs more aggressive in their pursuit of Elis? Maybe they’re stuck in mid-table and need another offensive spark? These scenarios likely won’t lead to Elis joining the Revs, but in the very small chance it did, I’d have a guy who scored 34 goals in 88 games with Houston from 2017-2020 on my team. I’ll take that lottery ticket over the guys remaining. (No offense, Andrew, but we all know that if you scored anyway, VAR would just screw you again).

 

Caleb: I think this a crazy pick. He’s turned down personal terms with New England. However, I could see his mind change on the ideology of returning to the USA in the summer window. I think he can make an impact if he were to return, and I think that he will be back in MLS. Will it be in NE? No idea.

Andy: At this point in the draft you gotta swing big and I like Greg’s thought process. Worth noting that all Elis’ public comments, since the rumors started floating around, seem to point to him preferring to stay in Europe. But if he changes his mind? That’d make this the pick of the draft. 


26 – Andy: Andrew Farrell

My last, but certainly not least, pick is Andrew Farrell. He doesn’t score very often but he’s been an absolute cornerstone of the team for a decade. Hoping his iron-man status rubs off on my team and everyone stays healthy. 

And who knows, maybe Vrioni struggles in the new system and Farrell takes over as starting striker?

 

Greg: Seriously, VAR is the absolute worst

Andy: VAR IS THE WORST

Caleb: VAR sucks. GIVE FARRELL HIS RBNY GOAL


27 – Caleb: Joshua Bolma

Had to go get my guy with my last pick. Joshua Bolma. He had 2 goals and 1 assist for the #NERevsII last season in 18 matches. I think Bolma makes his difference in the US Open Cup and bags me 2 goals. I like the choice. I like the player. Go Revs. 


Final Thoughts and Considerations

Caleb: You can follow my work on Twitter @CalebPongratz10, social life on Instagram @Caleb_Pongratz and can check out my articles and reports at ProstAmerika.com … Once you get to the site, hover over the MLS tab and click the New England Revolution link. From there, you will be able to see all of my articles! Hope you enjoy it!

Greg has 4/8 of his selections from 2023 (Buck, Bye, Rivera, McNamara)

Andy has 3/8 of his selections from 2023 (Jones, Boateng, Farrell)

Caleb has 4/8 of his selections from 2023 (Vrioni, Polster, Kessler, Spaulding)

 

Andy:

I’ve built out projections for each team’s performance, using a combination of 2023 expected goals/90, estimated minutes share, career G/xG and a Caleb Porter team correction factor.  These should not be seen as robust predictions but they do give us a guesstimate of how many goals each team could get.

You can find my articles at Boston Sports Nation (bossportsnation.com).  My content covers a wide range of topics and styles, but often favors stats, numbers, and analysis.  You can also follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Threads, and Bluesky @AndyRevsNation, or listen to me on your favorite Revolution podcast, you know the one!

 

Greg: You can follow my work by subscribing to The Blazing Musket (theblazingmusket.com) on substac. You can also listen to my colorful commentary on Revolution Recap, where we do weekly recaps of every Revs game along with interviews throughout the year. Our podcast is available on all podcast platforms and you can follow us on social media on Twitter, Instagram, Threads, Bluesky, and (for the boomers like me) Facebook.

 

Photo credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports
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