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New England Revolution Fight Back After Tumultuous Week
"No matter how things go, you got to stay together.”
This past week will go down as one of the more tumultuous weeks in New England Revolution history.
The club had to deal with Bruce Arena being put on administrative leave due to an ongoing investigation by MLS into alleged insensitive and inappropriate remarks. Losing a head coach would be enough to shake up a club, with Arena being a legend of the league the effects would appear to be even stronger.
“Obviously very emotional and very surreal week with Bruce being gone,” Noel Buck said. “It’s been interesting and I’m really glad we were able to come together and get a result.”
The Revolution also had to deal with the sudden absence of their star goalkeeper, Djordje Petrovic, who sat out of Thursday’s match as the player and the club are at a standstill after New England received transfer offers from Nantes and Nottingham Forest.
Petrovic has been one of the best goalkeepers in the league ever since joining New England. Replacing him is also not an easy task.
But after going down 2-0 early in Thursday’s match, the Revolution were able to claw back with two Gustavo Bou goals to force the game to penalty kicks. “Mr. Revs” Andrew Farrell scored the game-winning penalty that saw New England go into the Leagues Cup Round of 16.
“I just think the game itself was exciting. But we did get off to a slow start, whether that was from what the week looked like,” assistant coach Richie Williams said. “We did have good training, so I guess we could use that as an excuse if we wanted to, but we didn't have a good start to the game. Midway through the first half toward the end, the last 15-20 minutes, we started coming back in the game. We made a little bit of a formation change, which we thought definitely helped. The second half, I thought we were the better team and potentially could have won it in regulation. So we're excited just to win, we hung in there and to take the penalties, obviously in this tournament format you're just trying to advance to the next round. So exciting way to end the game, for the fans and for us, and we're just going to have to now prepare for the next game.”
Revolution midfielder Carles Gil is happy with how the team performed, especially considering the circumstances.
“I think it’s incredible what this team is doing,” the captain said. “Like you said, a difficult week with different things. But we know that we are doing a very good job training hard, and we wanted to show that here in New England with the fans and continue like this.”
Beyond Arena and Petrovic, the Revolution had to also support a former player and current member of the organization as the wake and funeral were held for Olivia Knighton, the 11-year-old daughter of former goalkeeper and current academy head coach Brad Knighton, who passed away in a boating accident.
“Obviously with everything going on this week, it’s been a rough week for a lot of guys,” Andrew Farrell said. “It’s kind of bigger than soccer. A lot of things going on with Brad, someone that’s very important to us. So it was a rough week and I’m just proud of the guys who are coming in and putting in the work throughout the week, and advancing. I think that’s the most important thing and no matter how things go, you got to stay together.”
Things won’t exactly get easier for New England. With a match on Monday, there is a high likelihood that the Revolution are once again without Arena and Petrovic when they face Querétaro FC on Monday.
But New England showed they can manage without these two key figures. Anyways, winning cures everything right?