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Ryan Spaulding Returned to New England With Increased Confidence
"He's a more confident player."
With injuries mounting and DeJuan Jones representing the United States in the Gold Cup, Ryan Spaulding was recalled from his loan with the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the USL Championship. The loan move already seems to be paying off for the 24-year-old.
After an impressive stint with the Rowdies where he racked up two goals and four assists over 803 minutes of action, Spaulding seems to have more confidence in himself and his game.
“Well, I only saw him [Ryan Spaulding] play maybe 20 minutes at Tampa, but we found the fact that he has been playing on a regular basis and we know him obviously from the two years he's been here, and we see him come back and training this week,” head coach and sporting director Bruce Arena said. “He's a more confident player. He’s match fit, which is important, so he's improved.”
It will be interesting to see how Arena deploys Spaulding now that the 24-year-old is back in New England. When with the Rowdies, he played in a more advanced role compared to his time with the Revs.
With Jones missing some time while with the USMNT and Makoun injured (Arena ruled him out this week), it seems like Spaulding could revert to left back (especially if New England plays a 4-4-2). But if Arena returns to a 3-5-2, Brandon Bye and Spaulding could play more advanced roles.
With increased confidence, Spaulding could fill the hole left by Jones. If he can attack defenders and take them on in 1-on-1s, he could create chances on the left flank for New England. It is a crucial part of the game that the Revs have been missing since Dylan Borrero suffered his injury. Jones has made an effort and shown that he has a similar skill. Hopefully, Spaulding can do the same.
Dave Romney complimented Spaulding’s attacking ability when asked about the left back.
“It's been good. I got to play with Ryan a handful of times in preseason and I really liked his game,” Romney said. “He's been playing extremely well in Tampa, so it's nice to have him back. He can be extremely dangerous going forward and he brings a nice threat to our team, and he'll be a good stop gap whether him and Ben [Sweat] are playing or [Christian] Makoun whenever he's healthy while DeJuan [Jones] is with the [United States] national team. I'm confident in all three of those guys to step up and perform and I think it'll be seamless.”
Spaulding’s first chance for minutes will come against a challenging opponent. While Toronto FC is a mess right now, going up against the likes of Lorenzo Insigne is always a challenge. Jones shut the Italian star down in the most recent battle between the two clubs. If given the chance, hopefully Spaulding can do the same.