fb-pixelRevolution have bought into new coach Caleb Porter Skip to main content

Practices started this week, but the Revolution have already bought into new coach Caleb Porter’s ideas

Revolution coach Caleb Porter has won MLS Cup titles with two different teams. Will New England make three?Barry Chin/Globe Staff

FOXBOROUGH — The Revolution ended last season in disarray, dropping from second place to fifth in the final weeks, before being downed in the first round of the MLS playoffs. But the team seems revived as preparations begin for their 29th year of play.

Caleb Porter has provided a new-coach bounce, taking over from Bruce Arena, and his enthusiasm appears contagious.

“He brings a presence about him where he’s very determined and organized, and has a plan ahead,” Revolution midfielder Matt Polster said Tuesday. “You can see that he wants to win. He’s done that at his previous clubs and he’s going to want to do that here.”


Porter guided the Portland Timbers (2015) and Columbus Crew (2020) to MLS Cup titles, but was fired by the Crew after missing the 2022 playoffs. Porter, who sat out last season while the Crew went on to win the MLS Cup, ran his first Revolution practice Monday.

“You can tell with my voice I’ve been yelling a little bit,” Porter said. “So, it’s been fun. Two days in and it’s a good group, a very good group. That’s just me, I’m all in, obviously. When I coach I coach, and get in there.”

The Revolution practiced in the Gillette Stadium fieldhouse Tuesday and will move to Bradenton, Fla., next week. The Revolution visit CA Independiente in Panama (CONCACAF Champions Cup) Feb. 21 and open the league season at D.C. United Feb. 24.

“I think it’s always important to get off to a good start,” Porter said. “When you’re imprinting your ideas, you want to maintain the buy-in. You need results to maintain the buy-in and I think these guys are really thirsting for some new ideas and are taking the ideas really well. But yeah, we have to execute in the end and our goal is to get through preseason healthy. That’s No. 1, probably because if we start the year healthy, we’ve got a roster to be able to rotate in games. And I think our 1-2 is really strong, so those first couple games in Panama and D.C. with a short window in between, you’ll probably see a lot of different guys play. I think we can put different guys out there and put together some game plans where we’re rotating, but still putting out a high-level lineup where we’re going to win both games.”


Missing are goalkeeper Henrich Ravas and forward Giacomo Vrioni, plus goalkeeper coach Kevin Hitchcock, all awaiting visas; plus Esmir Bajraktarevic and DeJuan Jones, training with the US national team.

Porter praised the team’s approach to defending.

“They play in an aggressive way, which is good,” Porter said. “I like their mind-set on the defensive side. They want to go win the ball high. That’s a good nature and a good habit. This team takes ownership. We have a bunch of leaders, a bunch of guys that want to win. The attitude is excellent. The energy in training is as good as I’ve seen in a group, but I think there’s some things to improve, but they are already taking those ideas on immediately. I thought we got better today and we’re looking forward to tomorrow. It’s step by step. It’s like a grain in the hourglass. Eventually, it adds up though.”

The Revolution roster is built to present a risk-taking attacking style, led by captain Carles Gil. The team advanced to the postseason four of the last five seasons and, despite last season’s late failings, finished 15-9-10 (55 points), the fourth-best record in club history. Porter hopes to take the Revolution to the MLS Cup for the first time since 2014 and, possibly, their first title.


“It’s what brings me to life,” Porter said of coaching. “It gives me a purpose. It’s what I love to do. It’s my calling and it’s nice to be out there with the guys and feel their energy and I love to build day by day in the preseason. It’s not just the soccer, tactically, it’s the chemistry and the unity and the cohesion that we’re building every single day. In the first meeting, I talked about the key things you need in any championship club and, yes, it’s the talent, but you don’t need more talent to win an MLS Cup.”

Polster, for one, has been convinced by Porter.

“Very optimistic,” Polster said. “He said he wants to help put trophies in the cabinet. So, I think that’s as big of a message as you can send. I think we have a great team. I think that’s why he chose this club. There’s a lot of things in place that can make us successful, and I think we brought the right guy in to help us get there.”

Frank Dell'Apa can be reached at frankdellapa@gmail.com.