FOXBOROUGH -- Wednesday’s 1-1 draw with Philadelphia marked the official end of the first half of the Revolution’s season. At the midway point, New England’s favorite soccer sons sit 11th in the Eastern Conference out of 12 teams. And even with the run of form the Revs are on in the last month-plus — 2-0-3 in the league since Brad Friedel’s sacking — there’s still loads of work to do over at Patriot Place.
That all being said, it’s time to reveal my first half marks for the team.
Reminder: This is a look at the first half of the season as a whole, not little spurts here or there, or good performances in one game.
Carles Gil, Juan Agudelo, Jalil Anibaba, DeJuan Jones, Tajon Buchanan, Brandon Bye, Scott Caldwell, Matt Turner
Pound for pound, Gil is one of the best technical players on the ball, and has grown accustomed to the rough-and-tumble nature of MLS midfields. He’s drawing defenses to him, and in many ways, making them look silly.
Agudelo has come on as of late, and some may question his inclusion here given the lack of production earlier in the year; but go back and watch his hold-up play and his ability to create opportunities. His move to the No. 8 role has been tremendous.
Anibaba, from moving into Michael Mancienne’s slot in the season opener to the way he approaches each attacker’s move, mainly with a lunch pail work ethic that every Bostonian can appreciate, might be one of the better defenders on the Revolution. With Mancienne on the sidelines and Antonio Delamea struggling to find the XI, Anibaba’s play during the first half has cemented his role — and has justified his salary bump. And don’t forget the goal he scored earlier this season.
If you look at where Buchanan and Jones fell in SuperDraft — Buchanan No. 9, Jones No. 11 — one would believe that Buchanan would get the most minutes between the two; there were some who thought Jones wouldn’t see that many minutes as the No. 11. Hell, one Boston soccer writer — I wonder who that was? — saw Jones as a potential defensive player before SuperDraft, and has seen more minutes there thanks to the ineptitude of the front office/prior coaching regime who “like(d) the players we have.” Both have played well when inserted; would like to see more from Buchanan, because his skill on the ball is high.
Bye may have had a poor preseason, but he’s had some solid outings. We love his crossing ability.
Caldwell has a motor; some may question why he’s receiving a passing grade given that he may not improve his skill level — some have even called for the team to move on from him — but you know what you’re going to get, and that’s a bulldog mentality.
And Turner, when not plowing over English internationals, continues to show why he’s the best goalkeeper New England has at the moment.