Rennicks making the most of his opportunities; first MLS goal was “a long time coming”

4_9_22 RennicksGoalCelebration

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – For years Justin Rennicks has been the picture of patience as he’s waited for his opportunity to shine with the New England Revolution first team, and the 23-year-old Academy product got his just reward on Saturday afternoon, scoring his first MLS goal a mere 1,178 days after the Revs made him a Homegrown signing back in January 2019.

It was a goal worthy of the wait, as well, with Rennicks’ deft movement inside the penalty area and hard run across his defender creating just enough space to touch home a right-wing cross from DeJuan Jones, a goal that gave the Revs a 1-0 lead in a match they’d ultimately go on to lose, 3-2, at Inter Miami CF.

“Getting the goal was great,” Rennicks said postgame. “You know, it’s been a long time coming. It’s been four years now and I’ve just been waiting to get that goal, so I finally got it.”

Rennicks gained plenty of professional experience in his first three seasons with New England, but little at the MLS level. He made 10 appearances on loan with North Carolina FC in the USL Championship in 2019, then totaled 35 appearances in USL League One with Revolution II during the 2020 and 2021 campaigns. During that span he played just 146 minutes of MLS action, spread out over 10 appearances.

But 2022 has been a different story, with Rennicks already playing 162 minutes and making the first back-to-back starts of his MLS career. He has taken advantage of the opportunities presented by the recent absences of Adam Buksa and Gustavo Bou, earning praise from supporters and coaches alike for his work ethic, and on Saturday at DRV PNK Stadium, his end product.

All the while he was bouncing back and forth between the first team and Revolution II, Rennicks never doubted that he’d get his chance so long as he kept his head down, kept working, and kept believing.

“It’s been just hard work and dedication,” said Rennicks. “I knew (the first goal) was going to come at some point, it was just a matter of when. So, I was glad to go out there and get it today.”

Rennicks did more than just score his first MLS goal on Saturday, as he also won the penalty that Carles Gil converted in the second half, briefly pulling the Revolution level at 2-2. He was ultimately replaced by fellow Academy product Damian Rivera in the 83rd minute, but it was a performance that may well have earned Rennicks more playing time even when Buksa and Bou are back in the mix.

“Rennicks played a good game, played really hard,” said head coach Bruce Arena. “Obviously scored the first goal of his career, worked really hard, was fouled for the penalty kick. So, you know, he’s one of the players on the day you’ve got to give a lot of credit to. I thought Justin did a real good job.”