2020 MLS Draft results: Revolution take Henry Kessler with No. 6 pick

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2020 MLS Draft results: Revolution take Henry Kessler with No. 6 pick

The New England Revolution found their man near the top of the 2020 MLS SuperDraft.

The Revs selected Virginia defender Henry Kessler with the No. 6 overall pick in Thursday's draft.

And according to head coach Bruce Arena, the team is quite pleased with its choice.

"He was absolutely our first choice of player to have. If [we] picked number one, we would've picked him," Arena said. "We were excited. We were a little concerned after the first two picks. He could've gone at three, four, or five. We were trying to move up in the draft as well, but that didn't happen. We were very fortunate he was available at number six and we jumped on it immediately.

"He's a player that we think has great potential. He has good size for a defender, is smart, good communicator on the field, good passer of the ball, knows how to step into the midfield and win tackles. We think he's a player with a lot of potential.” 

Kessler, 21, was a semifinalist in 2019 for the MAC Hermann Trophy, given to the top college player in the country.

The New York native started in 24 games for the Cavaliers and led a defense that finished tied for first in the nation in fewest goals allowed per game (0.53).

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He was named to the All-ACC first team and helped Virginia reach the NCAA title game, where it lost to Georgetown in penalty kicks.

The Revs then shook things up a bit by trading their No. 13 overall pick to Nashville FC for up to $100,000 in general allocation money.

New England had two picks in the second round and selected Cal defender Simon Lekressner at No. 30 overall and High Point goalkeeper Keegan Meyer at No. 43 overall.

Rounds three and four of the MLS SuperDraft will be held on Monday.

Here's a recap of the Revs' activity Thursday:

FIRST ROUND
No. 6 overall: Henry Kessler, D, Virginia

SECOND ROUND
No. 30 overall: Simon Lekressner, D, Cal
No. 46 overall: Keegan Meyer, GK, High Point

Polish striker Adam Buksa signs with designated player contract with Revolution

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New England Revolution

Polish striker Adam Buksa signs with designated player contract with Revolution

Just when you think the New England Revolution are done making big moves, the club surprises you ... again. The Revs have signed Polish striker Adam Buksa to a designated player contract.  

The 23-year-old comes to New England on a transfer fee that's reportedly the second-largest amount in club history ($4 million according to the Boston Globe). With Carles Gil and Gustavo Bou, whose transfer fee reportedly was $7 million, on the roster, the addition of Buksa marks the first time in team history they've occupied all three designated player slots at the same time. 

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The Revs' newest DP is on the cusp of breaking into Poland's men's national team after getting called up to the senior team in November 2018 for a friendly against the Czech Republic and a UEFA Nations League match against Portugal. 

Buksa, who was linked to clubs in England and Scotland, cites Bruce Arena and the Revs' future as critical factors in his decision to join the team. In an interview with NBC Sports Boston, he said, "I spoke with the coaches of the New England Revolution and it was the most important part for me to choose the New England Revolution because I know the role that I have to play on the team. I know that I will be an important player. I know the ambition of the club."

The Krakow native played in Italy for Novara's junior team when he was 16 before returning to Poland, where he played for Lechia Gdansk, Zaglebie Lubin, and Pogon. For a player who was targeted by multiple leagues in different countries, Buksa said he had been paying attention to MLS. 

"In Poland, the TV shows two games every weekend. I watch some games," Buksa said. "When I got interest from the Revolution, I watched many games of the Revolution and I have to say I really liked the style of the team. I liked the way they played. They have really good technical players like Carles Gil and Gustavo Bou. I am sure we can create many chances and score many goals together and win many games."

At 6-foot-3, Buska will bring a different dimension to the Revs' attack.  With a dangerous left foot and a tall frame, he can score goals in a variety of ways from different areas. His skill set and strengths should mix well with Gil and Bou.  "I'm a target man. I like scoring goals with a header. I like scoring from outside the box, in the box. I feel good in a 1-2 game. So, I am happy to have Carles Gil next to me as well as Gustavo Bou, who are really good players," Buska said of his fellow Designated Players. 

While some fans may not be familiar with Buksa as a player or the Polish top-flight league, the Ekstraklasa, they will know what player he models his game after. That's Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski. Buksa says, "The best player for me to follow is Robert Lewandowski. In my opinion, he is the best striker in the world. He scores unbelievable goals. This is the one player I really like to follow. I had a chance to train with him during the national team camp before the game against Portugal. He made a huge impression on me."

Revs fans can only hope that some of Lewandowski's world-class game can rub off on Buksa.  At the very least, they can feel good about what Poland has recently produced for strikers.  They boast one of the most lethal strike forces in the word with Lewandowski, as well as Arkadiusz Milik of Napoli and AC Milan's Krzysztof Piatek. Could Buksa be the next? Find out starting Feb. 29 when the Revs open the season against the Montreal Impact.  

New England Revolution announce 2020 regular-season schedule

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New England Revolution announce 2020 regular-season schedule

The countdown to the New England Revolution's 25th season is underway, with their regular-season schedule getting released Thursday.

The club will open the season against Montreal Impact and first-year MLS head coach Thierry Henry on February 29 — the earliest day the league has started its regular season. Bruce Arena and his squad will return to Foxboro for their home opener on March 7 against Chicago.

With two new clubs joining the league, the Eastern and Western Conference alignment and schedule takes a different shape this year.

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Inter Miami CF joins the East and Nashville SC competes in the West, as each conference will feature 13 clubs. The 34-game regular season with 17 home and away matches for each team will stay the same.

What's different this year is every squad plays 12 intra-conference opponents twice — home and away for a total of 24 matches. The other 10 matches come against teams from the opposite conference.  

What this means for the Revs is they will not play against three Western Conference teams in the regular season.  In 2020, those teams are FC Dallas, LA Galaxy, and Vancouver Whitecaps FC.  

Here are some highlights from the 2020 slate: 

  • The Revolution get their first chance to face Toronto FC, the defending Eastern Conference champions, on April 29 in Canada.
  • New England hosts MLS Cup Champions Seattle Sounders FC on June 17.
  • The first-ever meeting with David Beckham's Inter Miami CF will take place on June 27 in Florida.
  • The Revolution will have an opportunity to avenge their 2019 playoff loss against Atlanta United FC on July 8 at Gillette Stadium.
  • The Revolution host Nashville SC in its inaugural season three days later on July 11.
  • New England wraps up the regular season with Decision Day against Orlando City SC on October 4.  

NBC Sports Boston will once again serve as the Revolution’s local broadcast partner. The 2020 season marks the 11th consecutive campaign that NBCSB will be the television home of the club.

New England’s complete 2019 regular season schedule may be found on RevolutionSoccer.net, while the entire MLS schedule is available at MLSsoccer.com.