Welcome to your scouting report. CF Montréal host New England side on playoff life support. Le CFM will look to keep pace as they maintain the second spot and stay in that top portion of the East.
Today, we welcome in Jake Catanese from Bent Musket, a Revs blog, to give us the lowdown on all things Revolution.
Check out the report here:
MRS 1: How would you qualify this season for NER?
Painful. Difficult. Disappointing. I won’t call it a failure to miss the playoffs with this talented of a team because of the difficulty the Revs faced this year with three major outgoing sales and buckets of injuries at two key stretches. New England never got off on the right foot, early in the year with heavy rotation in the backline and a dismal road leg at Pumas in the CCL quarters and doomed their first half season objective of a continental run. When the Revs did stabilize in the middle of the year, they weren’t dominant and instead of racking up a lot of wins, they instead got a lot of draws. When they needed to make a big push for the playoffs, they had to do it without their two DP strikers in Gustavo Bou and Giacomo Vrioni and without speedy winger Dylan Borerro. The players the Revs did put up top in attack from Justin Rennicks, Noel Buck and Tommy McNamara, did what they could to keep the Revs afloat in the standings but eventually the injuries caught up to them.
The magic of the Shield run in 2021 just wasn’t there and it showed. There’s big questions for the Revs in the offseason, how to get Vrioni and Borerro minutes before preseason and if the team needs to revamp the backline at all. The new faces the Revs expected to make an impact in 2022 will now have to face steep expectations in 2023 as the Revs can not be missing the playoffs twice. Bruce Arena has set the bar high and he didn’t meet it this year, injuries and transfers aside, I think he still expected this to be a playoff team.
MRS 2: What was something the team could have done better over the summer for the team to be positioned better for a playoff run?
I don’t think so, the injuries were too much in the end. Your two primary goal scorers being out means you have to rely on Carles Gil to score a lot more (which he can do but prefers to be a creator) and on kids. Tommy McNamara picked up the mantle as best he could offensively and it still wasn’t enough. Adam Buska was so key to how this team played and Vrioni was supposed to be his replacement and has hardly seen the field. The Revs tried to adjust with Rennicks as a pressing forward and it worked fairly well at times but New England just didn’t have enough finishing on the field.
Another trade target that hasn’t seen the field is Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, who the Revs got from LAFC after shipping Sebastian Lletget to FC Dallas. Another wing option for the Revs has been out with his own injury since before the trade and the Revs clearly knew this when the acquired him but eventually that meant going into over a month of games without your two best strikers and two of your top winger options. 2022 always was going to be difficult for the Revs to build consistency but the hope was to perhaps get hot and barnstorm the playoffs to MLS Cup. When it was clear the Revs didn’t add enough in the offseason, they went out and got Borerro and Petrovic before the end of the primary window in the spring and both made impacts on the field, at least until Borerro’s injury. It was always going to be a tough ask for the Revs to maintain a winning rate for a Shield, but the baseline was the playoffs and missing out hurts but at least the Revs seem to be setup for the long term and have a financial warchest to use in the offseason.
MRS 3: Talk to me about Petrovic and how he has easily and quickly become an elite keeper in MLS and how does having one feel?
I don’t know how much money Revs goalkeeping coach Kevin Hicthcock makes but it is not enough. Petrovic came up through the Cukaricki system in Serbia and had one Serbian international cap when the Revs acquired him and much like the other Revs major acquisitions this year, there was more of a long term expectation of success. Petrovic didn’t get that memo and has been putting up historic shotstopping numbers in MLS in his first half season. As a pure shotstopper, Petrovic is amazing. Where I’ve seen strides is in his distribution and decision making. One of his first MLS games he tried to make a Tom Brady hail mary pass to Bou, it got intercepted and the ensuing counter ended up in the back of his net. Eagerness got the better of him but he’s made great strides and will continue to do so in all facets of his game. But this literal historic numbers he’s putting up now are unreal.
Some of this is bolstered by the fact that Revs have been giving away penalties for free with every Dunkin order but despite the team’s defensive shortcomings of late - Petrovic is a potential GK of the Year candidate. I think Andre Blake will win it and would not be undeserving but Petrovic’s season has been that good that he should be a finalist for the award despite only being around for two thirds of the year. There are a lot of questions for the Revs going into the offseason and goalkeeper is not one of them until someone starts asking how long before Petrovic gets sold back to Europe. Hopefully not anytime soon.