New England Revolution

A flurry of entrances — and exits — highlight the Revolution’s midseason roster reset

Bruce Arena has already changed course on a few players he added in the offseason. Will it be enough for a playoff run?

Ismael Tajouri-Shradi
Ismael Tajouri-Shradi playing for New York City FC in 2021. AP Photo/Gary McCullough

A year after setting a Major League Soccer record for most points in a regular season, the Revolution sit 11th in the Eastern Conference with 12 games to go.

Bruce Arena, having already seen several of his 2021 stars depart for Europe, continued to reshape his roster in the past week. With the deadline on Thursday for the MLS secondary transfer window, New England worked both to bring players in and ship a few out.

Having brought in two MLS veterans — forward Jozy Altidore and midfielder Sebastian Lletget — to provide experience, quality, and depth, Arena moved quickly to send both away for the remainder of 2022.


Altidore, 32, was sent on loan to Mexican side Pueblas after managing just one goal in 21 appearances with the Revolution in 2022.

Lletget, 29, was traded to FC Dallas for general allocation money. The former L.A. Galaxy playmaker managed to have a larger impact on the field than Altidore, netting two goals and adding five assists in 19 appearances. Yet with the addition of forward Giacomo Vrioni, it’s possible that Lletget’s playing time would’ve been diminished.

“Jozy wanted to be somewhere where he had a chance to play more. And I think the move with Sebastian was both personal and soccer-wise, and I think him going in a new setting will help him,” said Arena. “So, we certainly wish him the best.”

Altidore will return to New England’s roster in 2023 when the loan to Pueblas expires. Lletget, however, saw his Revolution tenure close after just a few months. Arena, for his part, added that he thinks Lletget’s move will ultimately be mutually beneficial.

“He was one of the more productive players we had, but I think the move was good for him personally,” Arena told reporters on Thursday. “I think it will help both of us in the end, so I think the world of Sebastian. I hate to see him leaving, but I think it’s a good opportunity for him.”


New England has also been busy adding new players to help fill the void. Along with the in-season additions of winger Dylan Borrero, goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic, and striker Giacomo Vrioni, the Revolution recently acquired defender Christian Makoun from Charlotte FC and winger Ismael Tajouri-Shradi from LAFC (both for general allocation money). The team also added backup goalkeeper Clement Diop in a deal with Inter Miami.

“He is a good young defender, 22 years old, left-footed center back, good size physically, experienced internationally with Venezuela,” Arena said when asked about Makoun. “We think he’s a player that can help our team.”

Tajouri-Shradi, 28, was born in Switzerland and represents Libya at the international level. He has two goals in six appearances in 2022, all with Los Angeles. In all, he has 28 goals in 90 career MLS appearances (most of which came between 2018 and 2021 with New York City FC).

And while the transfer window is closed for international signings, New England could theoretically still sign free agents or make trades within MLS (and involving domestic players).

In all, it’s clear that Arena recognized that several of his offseason veteran signings weren’t panning out. Instead of doubling down on players who haven’t fully clicked, he went in the other direction and tried to reset his roster.


Luckily, the younger signings in 2022 have largely proven successful so far. Borrero and Petrovic have looked especially good at times (including the young goalkeeper’s penalty kick save against Italian international Lorenzo Insigne in a 0-0 draw with Toronto last week).

“Sometimes it is difficult to see this, because this league is a different league. Sometimes we need some months to adapt here, but they have shown they are very good players,” Revolution captain Carles Gil said on Thursday. “Djordje is an incredible keeper. One of the best in the league for sure.

“And Dylan too, he is very young, but he has incredible skills,” Gil added. “He is injured now, but I’m sure when he comes back, he will help us. We are very happy for them and with them here.”

For the Revolution to climb back into a playoff spot, the team will need its young contingent to continue hitting their stride earlier than expected. Vrioni, too, will be counted on for goals.

But after opening the year with a flurry of veteran signings, Arena has clearly changed course. Whether or not the reset is enough to revive the team’s postseason chances remains to be seen.

New England will play Orlando City on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.


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