LOS ANGELES – Every new beginning has to come from some other beginning's end - shoutout Semisonic - and that sentiment rings true for the New England Revolution as they enter the 2022 campaign with something to prove.
After a record-breaking MLS regular season in which they set the league’s new single-season points record with 73, and then falling in heartbreaking fashion in a penalty shootout in the MLS Cup Playoffs to New York City FC, the Revs are looking to demonstrate that they can bring that same consistency and skill into this new season.
“[The mindset is we have] a point to prove,” said veteran goalkeeper Brad Knighton. “One, that last year wasn’t just a fluke. It was the first time in club history we’d done that. But last year’s in the past.”
New England is ready to show that their success in 2021 was not a one-time deal.
“This is a new season, new goals, pretty much the same team, and there’s no reason we shouldn’t be where we were last year,” said Knighton. “The goal is to reach that and more, and take the steps that we need to in the process. But to get the guys here and settled and fit and healthy, that’s the main goal right now, and then the games start ramping up.”
With 21 players returning from last season, it makes it a smooth changeover in the short offseason ahead of the 2022 league campaign, opening on February 26 at the Portland Timbers.
With regards to new roster additions, sporting director and head coach Bruce Arena has recruited several players he worked with at the LA Galaxy, including Sebastian Lletget and Omar Gonzalez, to join the squad, as well.
“It’s really good,” said Knighton. “It makes the transition a little bit easier, especially the guys that have come in – Omar’s played under Bruce so he knows what to expect. It’s been all around, everyone’s been welcomed with open arms, and even the young guys coming in.
“We’ve got a great group chemistry, and guys are enjoying being here in LA and looking to build on the success from last year.”
“It's a typical preseason. It's going to take a little bit of time before we get our group fit and get us moving in a more coordinated manner,” said Arena. “It's going to take a little time.
“Omar [Gonzalez] fits in well. Obviously, one advantage we have with him is his physical size. He's very good in the air and that's something we haven't been particularly strong in the back, so that's helpful there. And he's obviously an experienced player as well, he communicates well, and brings that experience to the team.”
The Revs will continue building chemistry ahead of the 2022 season as they compete in their next friendly match on Saturday, Feb. 5, against the LA Galaxy at Dignity Health Sports Park at 10:30 p.m. ET. The match will be streamed on http://www.revolutionsoccer.net, however, it will only be available to the Revolution broadcast area.