Four Signings in Fifteen Days
The Revolution have now added four new players in offseason transfers. New England had just 18 players with contracts just 15 days ago and the fans were hoping for a difference from the last general manager's tenure. They absolutely got their wish and more. The four signings are all taking up a senior roster spot. This leaves the team with four senior spots to fill going forward towards pre-season next year. On top of that, they have four supplemental roster spots as well. Those supplemental roster spots will come in signings later on in the offseason through the SuperDraft.
Offseason Transfers, A Quick Look
Earl Edwards Jr.
Earl Edwards Jr. was signed off the Free Agency list in MLS this year coming off a year without playing a game with Loudon United FC or DC United. He finds a similar spot with the Revolution. New England will employ him as a third-string goalkeeper behind Knighton and Turner. Earl has some of the shot-stopping skills that Turner possesses but a lesser ability to pass out of the back. Edwards Jr. joins this team as a player for the Revolution II goalkeepers to achieve to be this year. Richie Williams, Bruce Arena's assistant coach, definitely had his hands in this signing. Williams coached Earl at Loudon United in 2019.
27-year-old Mafla joins the team on a transfer from the Columbian First Division. Christian Mafla played in the Primera A with Atletico Nacional, where he appeared in 62 matches after joining in 2017. Through all competitions, he played in 78 matches, one of those helped to bring Nacional to a Copa Columbia trophy. Bruce Arena has high praises for him, noting that Mafla "offers both experience and skill in his position". Christian is a left outside back with good one-on-one defending and great passing abilities, Arena added as well.
A couple of notes on Mafla from my own finding, he has had a few injuries in the past causing some unhappiness from the Nacional fans. He is also recently is coming back from a fractured clavicle, hoping that recovery won't stem into the new year or provide a future injury.
Tommy McNamara returns to the Revs after an addition to the team in August during the summer transfer window. The 29-year-old had a great run with the team, finishing with 859 minutes on the season. New England enjoyed his passing prowess on the ball as he completed above 80 percent of his passes. While controlling the midfield, his defensive additions were also key, winning 14 out of 21 tackles he made. Arena saw him as a huge part of the squad obviously to bring him back after appearing in 14 games after his mid-season transfer.
There's a lot to unpack on this signing. Kaptoum was picked up in free agency. Wilfrid is a strong central midfielder, who last played for UD Almería in LaLiga2 in June of 2020. Real Betis received him back from loan and then let him go free in October 2020. Kaptoum's resume precedes him coming from the La Masia youth system in Barcelona. He started out at Samuel Eto'o's Academy in Douala, Cameroon and Barcelona snatched him up at age 12 in 2008. He has played and started games for Barcelona B, Real Betis, Barcelona during six seasons in Spain.
The 24-year-old is technically strong on the ball and Arena finds his skills to "be a quality addition to the Revolution". He is a great passer and very pacey. In the end, Kaptoum will look to be a great addition to the central midfield or possibly even a back-up for Carles Gil. He has also had some recent games in 2019 with Cameroon's Cup of Nations roster.
Rumor Mill For Offseason Transfers
An MLS-wide rumor, 23-year-old winger Joao Joshimar Rojas, finds himself linked with any team in the MLS with another Ecuadorian player. Ecuagol.com rousted this possible transfer in their recent article on Rojas. MLSSoccer.com lists him as a "link" but I have my reservations. Our resident Ecuadorian "Delorean" as Brad Feldman loved to call him, Penilla is out of contract on January 1st, 2021. Due to his absence, I believe the Revs are an unlikely landing spot for Rojas. I do take the link as very exciting news though, Rojas is a young talent in the midfield, left or right wing.
Also, recently there has been buzz about offseason transfers out from the Revolution, namely one Alexander Buttner. With the pick up of Christian Mafla, many believe that he is a replacement for a "sure to leave" Buttner. I'm not on this train at all. Buttner was a great option for left-back when he was healthy, with both Mafla and Alexander in 2021, the Revolution would be all the much stronger in that position.
Buttner's rumored landing spot is in Cyprus' first division, with APOEL FC, a team that has frequented the Champions League. I've spoken with APOELGroup.com, the fan-run website for APOEL about the rumored transfer and there has been no signing at all. The quote I've received from that Twitter account though, "but it is coming". I treat that quote with the smallest of regard, I don't see Buttner leaving this offseason. Most Revolution fans have an issue with two international spots being taken up on the left-back position. New England can buy more if necessary for more offseason transfers.