DeJuan Jones and Brandon Bye are the New England Revolution’s bookend backs from Michigan.
Both gamers had been on the roster earlier than Revolution sporting director and head coach Bruce Arena arrived in Foxboro, however they’ve made nice advances on his watch. Bye is from Portage, Mich., and was the eighth participant chosen within the 2018 MLS Super Draft out of Western Michigan.
Jones is from Lansing, Mich., and stayed shut residence by attending Michigan State. He was the Revs’ first-round decide (eleventh total) in 2019. Jones was just lately invited to the U.S. National Team’s January Preparation Camp in Carson, Calif., step one in securing a spot on the roster.
“I think it is an incredible honor, especially with two games in this window,” stated Jones. “I have an opportunity to make my first (international) cap and I’m really looking forward to the opportunity.”
Arena hasn’t invested the membership’s surplus capital buying free brokers at each positions and just lately re-signed Jones and Bye to contract extensions via the 2024 season.
“They are athletic wingbacks,” stated Arena. “DeJuan is extra of an attacking participant and Brandon is a extra defensive participant in these positions.
“They are very good players, among the top half of players at their positions in the league. How you might want to define them exactly remains to be seen. But they are two good players that I think continue to grow and get better each year.”
Even although they’re stationed on reverse sides of the pitch and don’t usually immediately work together, Jones and Bye seem to function symmetrically inside the move of the sport. They have complementary ball dealing with and passing abilities and comprise probably the greatest backend scoring tandems in MLS.
“Me and Brandon grew up playing against each,” stated Jones. “We prefer to compete, we prefer to push one another in observe so in the case of the sport we’re each going to get our units.
“We lock down defensively and do everything we can to help the team.”
Protecting the again finish is the highest precedence, however Jones and Bye are proficient within the attacking zone and no strangers to the scoresheet. They every recorded seven assists in 2022 and had been tied for fifth amongst MLS defenders.
Since 2020, Jones and Bye rank among the many league leaders in mixed objectives and assists with 31. Jones (96) and Bye (91) rank second and third amongst MLS defenders in probabilities created.
On the again finish, Bye ranks fifth amongst defenders in aerials gained with 239. Bye ranks second amongst defenders in duels gained with 470 whereas Jones has 384. Those numbers intensify Jones and Bye’s dedication to working either side of the pitch.
“I think it is an interesting dynamic that both of us are Michigan guys on both sides, left and right,” stated Bye. “Obviously we carry stuff to the assault but additionally defending our zone as effectively.
“I believe that’s the crucial idea we’ve got going for us proper there. I believe Bruce offers us the flexibility to search out the sport how we wish to. We have proven over the previous few years that we are able to add to the assault and defend.
“He gives us the ability to do that and we are always working on different aspects of the game. But yeah, I think it is an awesome advantage we have that we can both get forward.”
For the again finish to be safe, the keeper, the middle backs and the blokes on the wing should preserve open traces of communication, each verbal and visible, and be linked as a unit.
The Revolution have three outsized middle backs, Andrew Farrell, Henry Kessler and Omar Gonzalez, again from final season. Arena bolstered that place by buying Dave Romney from Nashville SC in change for $250,000 in General Allocation Money and $275,000 in 2024 GAM.
Having 4 stout middle backs defending the penalty space permits Jones and Bye larger flexibility to roam the attacking zone. That appears to be on Arena’s agenda because the Revolution put together for his or her first exhibition video games on the finish of the month in Florida.
“That makes it somewhat easier for them defensively,” stated Arena. “They don’t have to put out fires all the time and it gives them a chance to get forward a little bit more.”