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Bruce Arena asked about adding more players and his goals for the Revs
Arena: "There are a lot of challenges ahead still, getting the team better competitively, maybe having a larger footprint in this city as well.”
New England Revolution head coach and sporting director Bruce Arena knows not to get too far ahead of himself before first kick. The regular season is long and a lot can happen.
On Friday, Arena spoke to The Blazing Musket and Rich Thompson of The Boston Herald ahead of the Revs’ preseason trip to Florida. The team will spend three weeks down south before returning to Foxboro to prepare for their season opener against Charlotte FC on Feb. 25.
Winning a Supporters’ Shield was a nice accomplishment for the club but, you know, there are a lot of challenges ahead still, getting the team better competitively, maybe having a larger footprint in this city as well.” -Bruce Arena
How does Arena feel about seeing his team play five preseason matches against MLS opposition?
“It’s the same thing we do every year and we got to work through that whole process,” Arena quipped. “It will be good to get somewhere else and play against outside competition.”
The answer makes sense coming from someone who first started coaching in MLS during the league’s inaugural season in 1996. Sure, these preseason games are helpful, but there are 34 regular-season games ahead.
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The Revs added a number of pieces during the offseason. First, they brought in veteran striker Bobby Wood then they drafted Joshua Bolma, Victor Souza, and Andreas Ueland. The first newcomer is already signed while the latter two aren’t.
A flurry of moves followed as Latif Blessing, Dave Romney, Nacho Gil, and Jack Panayotou all made their way to New England. It’s worth noting that trialist Ema Boateng and Revolution II players Pierre Cayet and Nico Campuzano participated in Friday’s practice.
When asked about the current state of the roster and if the Revs are going to add more players before the season opener, Arena once again gave a measured response.
“We have to get through preseason before we can figure anything out, to be honest with you,” Arena said. “We’re not going to be adding any more players than what we have.”
Arena will use the next few weeks to assess his players and how to best use them.
Last year, the Revs started the season in a 4-4-2 diamond and ended it using a 4-5-1. This year, they could feasibly use a five-man backline since Romney, Andrew Farrell, and Henry Kessler are all starting quality.
When asked about using two or three center backs, Arena said, “We’re going to consider everything at this point.”
An MLS season is full of highs and lows. Oftentimes, it’s the team who gets hot at the right time that ends up winning the ultimate prize.
And that’s the main goal for the Revolution, who have never lifted the MLS Cup despite five trips to the final. Arena has done a lot since joining the Revolution midway through the 2019 season, including setting a new MLS single-season points record in 2021.
Still, the winningest coach in MLS history remains focused on future accomplishments.
“Well, we have a way to go,” Arena said. “We have a way to go as a franchise. Obviously in our history, we haven’t won an MLS Cup, not that we’re the only one in that position. Winning a Supporters’ Shield was a nice accomplishment for the club but, you know, there are a lot of challenges ahead still, getting the team better competitively, maybe having a larger footprint in this city as well.”