Bruce Arena Wants More From His Forwards
"We’ve got to get better play out of our forwards."
Usually on a night when you score three goals and two of those came from strikers, you would expect a head coach to be happy with the performance but that wasn’t the case for Bruce Arena and the New England Revolution.
While goals from Bobby Wood and Jozy Altidore tied the game, the head coach and sporting director wasn’t happy with the play of his forwards on the night.
“Solid. His [Wood] movement off the ball is good,” Arena said when asked about the veteran striker. “He can hold it up at times. And obviously the goal was a big goal. We’ve got to get better play out of our forwards.”
Wood’s hold-up play has been fantastic and a big reason why he is racking up starts. The 30-year-old physicality is a thorn in the side of opposing defenders and it has led to goals with Wood leading New England with four on the season.
Part of Arena’s disappointment could lie with Designated Player Giacomo Vrioni. Once again the 24-year-old striker struggled to find his footing and make an impact in the match.
Vrioni completed less than 70 percent of his passes and had two big chances missed according to FotMob. The 24-year-old looked as if he was still searching for chemistry with his teammates highlighted by a play where he took down Wood in the box when going for a ball.
As the game progressed, Vrioni made better runs and was more involved but he needs a more complete performance.
The struggles at striker have been exasperated by the fact that New England has been without its other DP striker, Gustavo Bou. The 33-year-old hasn’t appeared in a match since coming off the bench on April 29th against FC Cincinnati.
With a mid-week game against Atlanta United and then a Saturday afternoon match against NYCFC, it is difficult to see Bou suddenly getting inserted into the lineup after missing a month. Vrioni will need to play better and the likes of Wood will need to continue to find the back of the net.
Now more than ever, the Revolution need their strikers to be the main drivers behind their scoring output. If not, New England could begin to drop points and drop down the Eastern Conference standings.