Days before the Revolution return to Gillette Stadium for the resumption of Major League Soccer’s regular season, the team announced a pair of trades on Monday morning.
In one deal, New England sent a 2020 international roster spot to FC Cincinnati in exchange for winger Kekuta Manneh. The 25-year-old has 30 career MLS goals in 149 appearances.
“I was very excited when I heard the news,” Manneh said after the announcement. “Obviously I’ve been a big fan of the coach and some of the [Revolution] players I’ve worked with before from my time around the league.”
“Kekuta is a player I’ve known for a number of years who can play a number of attacking positions, possesses good speed and quickness, and also has a solid goal scoring record in our league,” Revolution head coach Bruce Arena said in a statement. “I’m hopeful he can adjust quickly to our club and help strengthen our roster as we prepare for the last 18 games of the regular season.”
The other trade sent Revolution midfielder Wilfried Zahibo to the Houston Dynamo in return for midfielder Tommy McNamara. The deal also involves New England sending a 2020 international roster spot with $150,000 in 2020 allocations money coming in return. The Revolution will also get an additional $25,000 allocation money in 2021.
In both cases, the international roster spots sent out by the Revolution in each trade return to the team in 2021.
For Manneh, he’s had his eye on New England since Arena was named head coach and sporting director in 2019. New England’s season turnaround culminated in an unexpected playoff berth. Manneh tweeted about the Revolution’s possibility in 2020 following the team’s 1-0 loss to Atlanta United in the postseason last October.
Come next season this New England revolution team could be a big problem to deal with #MLSCupPlayoffs
— Kekuta Manneh (@kekuta16) October 19, 2019
“I remember watching the game against Atlanta in the playoffs, and I was really impressed with that game,” said Manneh. “I’ve been a fan since last year since Bruce took over and they’ve changed things.”
Manneh said that he doesn’t expect to be eligible to play for New England right away, but could be able to make his debut against D.C. United on Aug. 25. He has experience working with Arena, as the former U.S. men’s national team coach called Manneh into a training camp in 2017 as well as for a 2018 friendly against Paraguay.
“He wants to win trophies and has helped a lot of players, has gotten the best out of a lot of players, and that’s what I’m most looking forward to,” Manneh said of Arena. “He’s a fun coach to work with. He makes it fun while integrating with hard work. And his philosophy is he likes to attack and score goals. He’s a winner.”
Zahibo, a 26-year-old French midfielder, was a 2018 MLS All-Star, and showed flashes of game-changing ability at times during his three years in New England.
McNamara, 29, comes to the Revolution after previous MLS stints with Chivas USA, New York City FC, and Houston. During his time in New York (2015-2018), McNamara showed an occasional ability for scoring long-distance goals.
The Revolution resume the MLS regular season at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Gillette Stadium against the Philadelphia Union.
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