Carles Gil was a steady force for the New England Revolution all season long. Whether it was his 14 assists— the fifth most in MLS and most among newcomers — or ten goals, there was nothing that Gil didn’t do for the Revs on their way to the playoffs.
Gil was astoundingly durable in 2019. He started all 34 regular season games and only came off as a substitute once. In total, he was on the pitch for all but five minutes of New England’s campaign. He started hot with three goals in his first three games before going on a midseason lull in production. He really turned it up in the final months, however. Eleven of his 14 assists came after the month of June and he was red hot in July and early August, scoring in four out of five matches.
Gil arrived in New England with experience in Spain’s La Liga and the English Premier League. Although he had 17 starts for Aston Villa in 2015-16, he couldn’t save the club from relegation and moved on to Deportivo La Coruna for the next two seasons. He never caught on in northern Spain, but he then moved to MLS and became an instant star.
His passing, goal scoring, and constant presence all led to Gil being selected as SBI’s MLS Newcomer of the Year Award. Here’s a look at the other contenders, as chosen by the SBI editorial staff:
Heber was a constant threat up front for New York City FC. The Brazilian scored 15 goals to lead all newcomers to MLS in just 18 starts after arriving from Croatian outfit Rijeka in the spring. He made his MLS debut in April and scored his first goal and first assist against D.C. United in his first start with NYCFC. Overall, he led the club in scoring despite playing barely more than half of the team’s total minutes.
3. Alejandro Pozuelo
Toronto FC needed someone to replace the gaping hole left in the attacking midfield after Sebastian Giovinco left and they appear to have that in Pozuelo. The 28-year-old Spaniard slotted right into Giovinco’s former number ten role with a dozen of both goals and assists. Pozuelo was a solid player for Racing Genk in Belgium before crossing the Atlantic. He made 175 appearances over five seasons with a 25 goals in 60 assists and did well to bring those skills to Canada while leading Toronto FC back to the playoffs.
4. Romain Metanire
Minnesota United benefited a lot from new players in 2019 and Romain Metanire was certainly one of them. The right back was a solid force defensively and did well to contribute to the attack as well. The Frenchman picked up seven assists on the year while making 11 starts. He came to MLS in January after helping Stade de Reims get promoted to Ligue 1 in France.
5. Jan Gregus
Every team can benefit from a strong defensive midfielder and that’s exactly what Slovakian Jan Gregus was for Minnesota. His ball movement ability was indispensable to the Loons as he racked up 12 assists and a goal while being a solid shield for the team’s back line over 30 starts. Gregus arrived from FC Copenhagen in the offseason and brought UEFA Champions League experience to the Twin Cities, and that helped Minnesota get to the MLS Playoffs for the first time ever.