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With Djordje Petrović Gone, Earl Edwards Jr. Is in the Spotlight (At Least For Now)
The 31-year-old recorded 11 saves across his last three starts.
We all knew that Djordje Petrović wouldn’t last in New England. When you have someone that young and that talented, the bigger clubs are sure to take a look. It wasn’t a question of if, but of when, and when Chelsea offered a $17 million transfer fee, it was an offer that the Revolution couldn’t refuse.
Now, the Revolution finds themselves in third place in the East with a playoff berth looking incredibly likely. How do they continue to compete without their All-Star goalkeeper? The solution may very well be Earl Edwards Jr.
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Yes, the Revolution signed Croatian goalkeeper Tomáš Vaclík as soon as the deal with Chelsea was official, but his arrival date is uncertain as he continues the process of getting his visa. For the time being, the starting job belongs to Edwards and for the 31-year-old, it’s business as usual.
“In terms of me personally and preparing for games, I try to keep things consistent,” said Edwards, when asked about his new starting job. “Other than being the starting guy and getting those reps in that manner, I guess nothing else has changed.”
In reality, it’s been a long time coming for Edwards. The goalkeeper started his career in 2015 with Orlando City SC. He debuted with the senior team in 2017, where he played in six matches over two seasons.
He then transferred to Loudoun United, the second team of D.C. United, where he played in 16 matches throughout 2019. This was enough to earn a call from New England and he made his debut with the senior team in 2022.
“I’ve been in this league for a long time, so to get a real chance and get a run of games, it’s something I’ve always been ready for and look forward to,” the goalkeeper said.
His chance is off to a decent start. Edwards first match this year came on July 17th against his former club. The Revolution beat Orlando City 3-1, and the goalkeeper recorded three saves.
The 31-year-old’s most impressive match so far came in the Leagues Cup against Atlas FC, where he recorded six saves, leading to a Revolution victory through a penalty shootout. His last game was Saturday — the first since Petrovic departed — and Edwards recorded three saves in a 1-0 loss to Montreal.
Edwards now likely faces his fourth start of the season, as the Revolution will face the New York Red Bulls in an Eastern Conference matchup. The Red Bulls lack weapons in the front — they rank 22nd in the MLS in goals scored — meaning it shouldn’t be the most difficult matchup for Edwards. With that being said, the Revolution lost to the Red Bulls their last time out.
Interim manager Richie Williams was impressed with Edwards’ last effort, and seemingly confirmed in a recent press conference that Edwards will continue to start.
“Earl had a good outing in Montreal. He did a good job for us and that's important,” he said. “That's why you have the depth you have in your team. We expect him to continue that over the next couple of games.”
While the team waits for the verdict on Bruce Arena — currently on administrative leave — it’s a well-received boost to have someone you can trust between the posts. For now, that man is Earl Edwards Jr.