New England closed out the 2018 campaign with a 10W-11D-13L record. The 41 points they earned in Brad Friedel’s first year at the helm were good for eighth place in the Eastern Conference, 9 points away from playoff contention.
Considering that it was a rebuilding year for the Revs, things didn’t turn out too badly: the club implemented a press-and-counter system which showed potential at times throughout the season,Cristian Penilla enjoyed a breakout first season, and they played pretty well at home with an 8W-5D-4L record at Gillette.
However, between the Lee Nguyen departure drama to start the season, the lack of a backup plan when opponents found a solution for the press, and only managing to win two road games were the ultimate downfall for the club.
That being said, the club have added a few more pieces during the offseason, and we expect Brad Friedel to add a new wrinkle or two coming into the 2019 season.
We’re expecting Brad Friedel to continue to build upon the Mauricio Pochettino-inspired press-and-counter scheme he implemented last season. The club often lined up in a 4-2-3-1, and the club do a fairly decent job of creating turnovers. The biggest problem the Revs will need to sort out coming into 2019 is figuring out what to do with the ball once they gain possession, as far too often they would give the ball back just as the team were transitioning to the attack, leaving them very much exposed.
In terms of noteworthy outbound players, Chris Tierney has retired after 11 seasons with the club, and Kelyn Rowe & Claude Dielna have been traded.
Incoming, we’ve got two high caliber attackers in Carles Gil and Juan Fernando Caicedo, the former of whom has signed as a Designated Player. Additionally, veteran fullback Edgar Castillo will replace the aforementioned Tierney on the back line.
If the Revs see a modest improvement from last season’s results, then Revs players will almost certainly provide value to fantasy managers, particularly at home and/or in specific matchups. Several players are priced at a discount compared to their contemporaries on other higher-tier clubs, but there are several starter-caliber players who may end up either in a rotation or riding the bench based on who performs best within New England’s system.
No. 10 DP Carles Gil (9.0m) is the early favorite for most Revs attacking minutes in 2019 (although Brad Friedel has shown to be unafraid of excluding high-earners from the lineup, e.g. Lee Nguyen). Alongside Gil on the left wing will be Cristian Penilla (9.5m), who is the highest-priced player on the Revs roster after an explosive first season in the league where he scored 12 goals and picked up 7 assists.
Defensive midfielders Luis Caicedo (6.5m) and Scott Caldwell (6.0m) are the pair we expect to see ahead of the back line. There may be some value here as the season goes on if the Revs prove they are able to tighten up defensively, but we will likely look elsewhere for defensive midfield coverage early on in the season, especially if NE is on the road.
On the back line, we have newcomer Edgar Castillo (5.5m) at left back and the combination of Antonio Delamea (5.0m) and Michael Mancienne (6.0m) as center-backs. Delamea could provide some cheap defensive coverage in a favorable home matchu, along with goalkeeper Matt Turner (5.0m), both of whom are very favorably priced. Castillo is a bit of a dark horse, and could generate some returns if Friedel has him involved further up the pitch.
Contending For Minutes
Andrew Farrell (5.5m) and Brandon Bye (5.0m) will likely battle for minutes this season, especially with Farrell potentially ruled out on Opening Day due to injury and a fair amount of fullback rotation expected in a condensed 2019 campaign.
The Revs have quite the logjam on the attacking end, as the trio of Diego Fagundez (8.0m), Teal Bunbury (7.0m), and Juan Agudelo (6.5m) are all proven MLS-caliber players who have enjoyed varying levels of success, both on the pitch and in the realm of Fantasy MLS. All three players could slot in at both the right wing or up top in a striker role (at least in the case of Bunbury and Agudelo, anyway), and are expected to be battling for the starting role on a weekly basis. If we had to bet on one of the three to start on the right wing on Opening Day, we would put our money on Fagundez, but with both Bunbury and Agudelo coming off of the bench at some point.
Additionally, new striker Juan Fernando Caicedo (8.5m) rounds out the list here on the sole basis of him potentially missing time to start the season due to injury – although we expect him to take the reins up top unless the Opening Day starter comes out smoking-hot and Friedel decides to stick with the hot hand.
This is the main lineup I expect to see once everyone is healthy; on Opening Day, we expect some different faces at the striker, right wing, and right-back positions.