Paid Subscriber Mailbag 2/1/23
Each week a member of The Blazing Musket will answer questions from our paid subscribers
As a thank you to our paid subscribers, a staff member from The Blazing Musket will be answering questions from our paid subscribers every week. To ask a question, make sure you are in our paid subscriber chat. Let’s get to the questions.
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Rich L: Which youth player(s) do you think are likely to break into the starting 11 this season?
Playing the kids was a big topic last year especially toward the end of the season when a playoff birth seemed less and less likely. In all honesty, I think it would be difficult for one of the kids to make it into the starting XI just based on who is coaching the team.
Bruce Arena came to New England for a multitude of reasons but one of them is to bring trophies to the club. While a Supporters’ Shield is great, the MLS Cup reigns supreme. If you don’t believe me, let’s see what Bruce said recently when speaking to our own Seth Macomber.
“Well, we have a way to go,” Arena said. “We have a way to go as a franchise. Obviously in our history, we haven’t won an MLS Cup, not that we’re the only one in that position. Winning a Supporters’ Shield was a nice accomplishment for the club but, you know, there are a lot of challenges ahead still, getting the team better competitively, maybe having a larger footprint in this city as well.”
Arena wants to break the curse and bring an MLS Cup to the Revs. Now 71 years old, there isn’t a lot more time for him to do that on the Revolution sidelines. Arena is likely in win-now mode and with Djordje Petrovic and DeJuan Jones hoping for moves to Europe it’s a smart mode to be in.
If I had to pick one youth player, I would go with Esmir Bajraktarevic. He’s already getting attention and seems to have good technique and calm. The 17-year-old nutmegged a defender and showed he isn’t afraid of playing with the big boys.
Bajraktarevic told me that Arena and his coaches want him to mature as a player and I think if he is able to do that, he could find himself in the starting XI (or is at least the most likely candidate to do so).
Seth (Sethbomb) Macomber: Who has a better season: Vrioni or Borrero?
Very good question stranger I have never met. I will say I think both these players benefit from what I will now call the Adam Buksa effect which is having a full offseason/preseason after arriving in the middle of the previous MLS season.
Personally, I was impressed with Borrero’s play with Colombia and think he will have some added confidence heading into the MLS campaign. His skill and ability to go at defenders is similar (but not at the same level) as Tajon Buchanan. I have high expectations and think he has a breakout season (as long as he stays healthy).
Jack D: Which player is the first to leave in the summer (for good or bad reasons)
Jack I will do you one better I will give you a player that leaves first for good reasons and another player who leaves first for bad reasons.
Let’s get the bad news out of the way. The Jozy Altidore experiment hasn’t gone to plan. While Altidore is back with the team, I don’t know how long that will be for.
New England brought in Bobby Wood and has also retained Justin Rennicks. When you add in Gustavo Bou and Giacomo Vrioni, the Revs are sitting at five strikers deep on the depth chart. It seemed like Wood would replace Altidore’s spot on the roster but right now they are both here.
Part of the reason Altidore could still be with the team is the fact that there is no interest for his services but if New England can find a partner I would imagine they send him away whether it be a loan or permanent transfer.
Now we can get to the good. DeJuan Jones got capped by the USMNT and showed what he is capable of on the big stage. While Djordje Petrovic has the higher ceiling, I think Jones secures that Euro move if he continues to play as he has the last two seasons.
MLSsoccer.com’s Tom Bogert Reported that three European teams were interested in Jones (Stuttgart, Olympiakos, and Anderlecht). The interest is there and likely increased after January camp.
The Revolution would also be in rough shape if Petrovic was to leave first so I think Jones gets the deal first similar to how Tajon Buchanan moved on and got his Euro move before Matt Turner did.