Revolution captain Carles Gil has yet to meet coach Caleb Porter in person, but he believes Porter will provide an edge for the team this season.
“I think everyone is excited, because he’s a winner,” Gil said during an MLS media gathering last Thursday in Miami. “He did it two times here in MLS. It’s not easy to [win MLS Cups] in two different clubs. So, hopefully, he can do it also with us.”
Porter connected with Gil by phone “a few weeks ago,” soon after being named the Revolution’s ninth head coach.
“We talked a little about what we expect next season,” Gil said. “We need to start to train and work together, to know each other better. Not just me, but the team. But I’m excited for what’s coming.”
The Revolution report to Foxborough Saturday and begin training Monday in preparation for the season opener, a CONCACAF Champions League visit to CAI de La Chorrera in Panama on Feb. 21.
The defense has been reinforced with the additions of goalkeeper Henrich Ravas, central defender Jonathan Mensah, and outside back Nick Lima. Midfielder Esmir Bajraktarevic and defender DeJuan Jones, now training with the US national team, are expected to join the Revolution for the preseason opener Jan. 24, against the New York Red Bulls in Bradenton, Fla.
“It’s important to have a good team, and not just 11 players,” Gil said. “To have all the players ready and focused, because when you play many competitions, you need to use many players. And if we want to be a championship team, we need to have every player ready.
“And, hopefully, we can do it. Obviously, many competitions, difficult games, difficult teams. But we want to fight for everything, we want to win trophies.”
Porter replaces Bruce Arena, who was placed on administrative leave by MLS last July, with the Revolution second in the Eastern Conference. Arena resigned in September, and the Revolution slumped to fifth place before being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.
“We had a very difficult season last year after everything happened,” Gil said. “So now we are happy because this is finished and we are starting a new season. We have a new coach, it’s a new beginning for us. We are looking forward to start to train with him and have good training and be ready for this season.”
Gil, 31, is beginning the final year of a contract worth more than $3 million annually.
“It’s true this is the last year on my contract, but I’m enjoying it,” Gil said. “I don’t look too much at individual goals. Team goals are more what I keep my focus on. I want to keep improving in all aspects of the game and help my team.
“Last season I scored 11 goals — that’s the most I’ve scored in a season. I want to keep improving. I can also help the team more defensively. I’m 31, but I want to continue to get better.”
Gil played for three Spanish clubs, plus Aston Villa in the Premier League, before joining the Revolution in 2019. He has led the Revolution to four playoff appearances in five seasons, but he misses the promotion/relegation fights of European competition.
“The playoffs are good because it gives everybody the same objective, and the same goal to get in and win,” Gil said. “But looking at our league and second divisions, it’s hard not to be able to reach that goal. The truth is, to be able to fight to be promoted or avoid being relegated is something beautiful.”
Gil said he did not expect to stay long with the Revolution when he arrived.
“I was excited to come here for the financial opportunity, I wanted to come here and gain some confidence, but things have changed since I got here,” Gil said. “I consider I have it all here.
“I’m pushing for team and individual objectives. My club gave me confidence from the very beginning. Experience as well.
“From my position, I can do a lot on the field, and that experience has helped me a lot. If I had to reflect on the past years, I didn’t have those qualities. But I just want to keep learning.”