Revolution II

International Roundup | Cup joy, assists and a memorable debut as eight Revs stars shine

11_22_23 Esmir Bajraktarevic USMNT

November’s international break proved a memorable one for the New England Revolution’s national team stars.

Eight players across the first team, Revolution II, and Academy were selected by their countries to compete in World Cup qualifiers, Concacaf Nations League encounters, the Pan American Games, Olympic preparation, friendlies and training camps, with Noel Buck, Christian Makoun, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Esmir Bajraktarevic, Peyton Miller, Olger Escobar, Jack Panayotou and Cristiano Oliveira all called up for action.

With trophy success, victories, assists and a senior international debut, there was plenty for our Revolution representatives to celebrate, wrapping up their 2023 duties on positive notes.

New England Homegrown midfielder Noel Buck enjoyed a trip to remember, lifting his first silverware with England Under-19s.

The Young Lions bagged a hat trick of wins at the Marbella Cup, defeating Romania, Japan and Mexico in Spain, to clinch first place in the friendly tournament.

On his third call-up to Simon Rusk’s squad (after scoring on his maiden selection in September and making his competitive debut in a UEFA European Championship qualifier the following month), the 18-year-old Massachusetts native played his part in an impressive triumph.

Tallying 71 minutes in match one, Buck featured in a thumping 6-0 win over Romania, before being introduced from the bench for the final 12 minutes of a dramatic 3-2 win over Japan.

One of only a select few American-born players to represent England at any level of international competition (and the only player in the roster to be based outside of the United Kingdom), the MLS ’22 Under 22’ starlet then completed the full 90 minutes of a 7-1 rout against Mexico, as Rusk’s side secured the trophy in emphatic fashion.

Elsewhere, Christian Makoun and Venezuela remain hopeful of making their World Cup dreams a reality, remaining on course to book their place at the 2026 tournament for the first time.

The midfielder/defender notched his ninth cap for La Vinotinto, playing 84 minutes of a goalless draw with Ecuador in CONMEBOL qualifying, and was named on the bench for a 1-1 tie with Peru.

Picking up two more points, Venezuela sit fourth in the standings (two points above sixth-place Brazil). The only CONMEBOL nation never to have competed at a World Cup, Fernando Batista’s men have impressed this term, equaling their personal best run of five games undefeated in their qualifying campaign.

Teenager Peyton Miller was also in World Cup action. After celebrating his 16th birthday earlier this month, the Revolution’s youngest-ever pro signing was included in the United States’ Under-17s squad for the FIFA tournament in Indonesia.

The Homegrown defender/midfielder, who will join the MLS roster in 2024, stood as the second-youngest player in the Stars and Stripes’ roster, and had represented the U.S. U17s at the Václav Ježek Cup in the Czech Republic in September.

Chosen for his sixth appearance with the U.S. Youth National Team, he marked the occasion with an assist, aiding his side’s group stage efforts. The Connecticut native – a goal scorer in New England’s 2023 MLS NEXT Cup Final success at the Under-19 level – was brought on from the bench in a 3-1 win over Korea Republic, and then crafted a crucial assist in a 2-1 triumph over Burkina Faso, teeing up Nimfasha Berchimas with a well-placed cross for the game-winning goal.

A 3-0 defeat to Group E leaders France (in which Miller entered the game on the hour mark) meant the U.S. finished the group in second spot, setting up an intriguing clash with Group F winners Germany.

The Revs youngster played 60 minutes against the European Champions, as Gonzalo Segares’ side made the knockout stage for the first time since 2017. A pulsating clash saw the USA battle back from a goal down twice before Germany struck with three minutes to go to advance to the quarterfinals.

Meanwhile, Mark-Anthony Kaye returned to the Canadian National Team for their Concacaf Nations League Quarterfinal clash with Jamaica.

Mauro Biello’s men (last year’s tournament runners-up) faced The Reggae Boyz in a two-legged home-and-away series, and were eliminated on away goals after the two sides drew 4-4 on aggregate.

Kaye was introduced from the bench in both games, clocking 32 minutes at Independence Park in Kingston and 17 minutes at his former stomping ground of Toronto FC’s BMO Field. Though Canada earned a first away win in Jamaica since 1988 with a 2-1 success, they then fell to a 3-2 home defeat to exit the competition.

The setback means Canada’s maiden CONMEBOL Copa América participation now rests on a one-match play-in series against Trinidad and Tobago next March.

In other news, Olympic preparations continued for Esmir Bajraktarevic, who earned his second successive call-up to the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team.

The Stars and Stripes held a second training camp ahead of next summer’s Paris Games, facing Iraq and Morocco in a pair of friendlies.

The 18-year-old – the youngest player on the roster – had found the net on his previous selection in September and showcased his offensive threat once more with the secondary assist for Benja Cremaschi’s opener against Iraq.

The Revs Academy and Revs II product, who bagged his first senior goal for New England this season, completed 77 minutes of the 1-1 draw in Spain and found Cole Bassett, who delivered the cross for Cremaschi to convert. Bajraktarevic also struck the crossbar with a curling drive.

Named a substitute against Morocco, he was called upon with just over 15 minutes to go to try and rescue a draw with the Stars and Stripes trailing 1-0, but could not prevent his side from defeat.

The U.S. will be competing at the Olympics for the first time since 2008 next summer. One of two players in the squad born in 2005, the Revs starlet will also be age-eligible for the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.

There was more positive news for our Revolution representatives. Revs II forward Olger Escobar enjoyed a week he will never forget, as he stepped out to make his senior national team debut with Guatemala, before producing a star performance for the U20s.

The Malden, Mass., native and 2022/23 UnitedHealthcare Revolution Academy Player of the Year stepped out for his senior bow late on in Los Chapines’ friendly draw against Jamaica, and followed up the feat with a superb double-assist display for the U20s against Nicaragua.

A two-time MLS NEXT Cup champion and the reigning U17 MLS NEXT MVP, Escobar had previously represented his country at U17s level, and earned plenty of praise for this month’s showings. First-team head coach Luis Fernando Tena declared the youngster ‘played very well’ and admitted he should have fielded the Revs starlet earlier.

Earlier this month, Jack Panayotou also helped the U.S. Men’s Pan American Team to a fourth-place finish at the 2023 Pan American Games.

In their first appearance at the tournament since 2007, the Stars and Stripes reached the semifinal stage but fell to defeat against competition hosts Chile before facing Mexico in the third-place playoff.

Pitted against Brazil, Honduras and Colombia in the group stage, the USA finished second in Group B with Panayotou featuring in every game, providing the pivotal assist for Daniel Leyva to level in a vital 2-1 victory over Honduras.

After overcoming Colombia 2-0 in their final group clash, the USA were edged out in the semis and suffered a 4-1 reverse against Mexico in the bronze medal match, with the Revs youngster featuring in the second half of both games. A fourth-place finish marked the team’s best result in the competition since 1999.

Finally, Somerville, Mass., native Cristiano Oliveira also made the U.S. U16s roster for a training camp in Carson, California.

The leading scorer for the Revolution’s U17s with 12 goals and two assists, the youngster (who joined the Revs Academy in 2021) received his second USYNT call-up, after joining up with the U15s for a training camp last season.

Led by U19 MYNT head coach Michael Nsien, the November camp marked the first of the 2023/24 cycle. Including Oliveira, the roster featured 23 players born in 2008.