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Revolution Don't Want to Repeat Crucial Mistakes of 2022
Bruce Arena, DeJuan Jones, and Dave Romney spoke to the media ahead of the 2023 season opener.
The New England Revolution want to leave the 2022 season behind them and in order to do so they need to make sure they don’t make the same mistakes in 2023.
Revolution left back DeJuan Jones discussed how New England can return to a similar form that was seen in the 2021 season and the 25-year-old believes that it comes down to staying locked in for the entire game.
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“I would just say just everyone on the field working hard together,” Jones said on Tuesday. “I think at times, a couple guys, maybe at a time, maybe more guys, just weren’t locked in for the full 90 minutes. So, towards the end of the games, we would just make simple mistakes and just let teams back in the game, or instead of three points get one point. All those points added up at the end of the season, and that’s why we missed the playoffs. So, I think really just focusing in, being locked in for all 90 minutes would be the difference for us this year.”
Last season New England was awful at keeping a lead. The Revolution led MLS in points dropped from a leading position with 31. If you check out of games where you have the lead, clubs in MLS will make you pay.
Head coach and sporting director Bruce Arena believes that his squad has learned from the issues that plagued 2022 but the results in 2023 will prove if that is truly the case.
“Yeah, I think so,“ Arena said when asked if there is a different vibe around the club entering this season. “I think they understood some of our issues from last year and we’re working to get it better, but only the season’s going to tell us that.”
Defending was a major issue for New England as evident in the blown games. The back line’s positioning and ability to handle counterattacks was subpar. Unfortunately, in the lone preseason game that was visible to the public, those issues still seemed to exist.
Orlando City’s lone goal of the match efficiently tore New England’s defensive unit apart. A long ball from Robin Jansson saw the shape of the back line exposed.
Henry Kessler was pressing far beyond midfield and DeJuan Jones was at the center of midfield also pressing an Orlando attacker. This left Dave Romney and Brandon Bye in no man’s land.
Michael Halliday had an entire side of the field to himself and while he was unable to score, Iván Angulo outmuscled Bye and gave Orlando the lead.
When speaking about his takeaways from preseason, Dave Romney touched upon the exact issues above.
“We kind of tried a few things, but I think we’re set on what we’re going to do for the most part,” Romney said. “Then just the little basics of like how exactly we want to press, when we’re going to be man to man at times, how we want to build out. Just different things like that, it was kind of a progression.”
The best way to put 2022 in the rearview mirror is to open up with a win over Charlotte FC on Saturday. While New England will be hoping to do that, it will be an emotion-packed game.
The Charlotte community had to deal with the tragic passing of Anton Walkes. The defender was just 25 years old when his life was cut short. Both Jones and Romney acknowledged the passing of Walkes and the former Nashville SC center back expects it to be an emotional night for everyone.
“Any home opener’s tough,” Romney said. “It’s a long offseason and fans are excited to get back. I don’t know if they had a preseason game in the stadium or not, like Orlando kind of just did, but there’s all that pent up energy. Plus, the emotion of just Anton [Walkes] and everything like that, it’s just going to be a very emotional night for us, them, and the fans, but once the whistle blows, it’s all soccer.”