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Revolution sign Slovenian player and begin practice

Revolution coach Jay Heaps said the offseason “was longer than it should’ve been.’’Jeff Swinger/USA Today Sports/File 2016/USA Today Sports

FOXBOROUGH — The Revolution announced the signing of Slovenian center back Antonio Mlinar Delamea Wednesday morning. Mlinar, 25, has been playing for Olimpija Ljubljana, which is tied for first place in Slovenia’s First Division.

Delamea, who missed most of the 2014-15 season after undergoing knee surgery, played one game for the Slovenia national team under coach Srecko Katanec, a former Italian Serie A defender, last year.

“We are very pleased to add to our defense with an experienced center back like Toni,” said general manager Michael Burns. “We’re excited to have him here for the beginning of training camp and we look forward to getting him a full preseason of action on the field with his new teammates.”


The Revolution opened practice Tuesday for their 22d MLS season without forward Juan Agudelo (training with the US national team for Sunday’s game against Serbia), plus 2013 MLS defender of the year Jose Gonçalves and midfielder Gershon Koffie, who has signed with Hammarby IF in Sweden.

Koffie’s role is expected to be filled by Xavier Kouassi, who has recovered from knee surgery, but was practicing with a leg brace on artificial turf at the Gillette Stadium field house.

The Revolution failed to qualify for the playoffs last season, rallying with a 5-3-1 finish to tie the Philadelphia Union for sixth place in the Eastern Conference. The Revolution’s strong finish coincided with a switch to a 4-4-2 formation that maximized the effectiveness of Agudelo, plus Diego Fagundez, Kei Kamara, Lee Nguyen and Kelyn Rowe.

Revolution coach Jay Heaps said the team will utilize a similar formation when the season opens with a visit to the Colorado Rapids March 4.

The Revolution had advanced to the postseason three successive seasons, but fell off the pace during a six-match winless streak late last season.


“I mean, it’s miserable,” Heaps said. “The offseason was miserable. It was longer than it should’ve been. That’s why yesterday was important for us — to look at each other and have that anxiety again of getting back together. I think everyone was anxious to have preseason start.

“It was an important offseason for us to get better. I think what was really important was to take positives from last season, more or less the last 11 games, and use those going into ’17.

“It was a pretty extensive offseason in terms of trying to find pieces we think can help us. Hopefully the pieces will help and make us better.

“It’s important because we want to have time to work players in. I think we all know when you add international players it takes a little time to adjust.

“The sooner they’re here the more acclimated they can get in terms of meeting guys, understanding the way we want to play, the system in which we’re going to play, the style we play. It takes a while. The pieces we’re adding, it’s right up the spine. The sooner we can get them here the better.”

The Revolution introduced Slovenia player Antonio Mlinar Delamea Wednesday.new england revolution

Last year also marked the Revolution’s first with a losing record since 2012.

“It’s a new season, everyone has a chance to win the MLS Cup right now, and that’s the mind-set,” Kamara said. “We all have a good mind-set. For me, personally, it’s about going into the season and working hard with the rest of the guys.


“There’s nothing less than a trophy that you want to play for.”