FOXBORO — After having scored merely two goals in four matches in the MLS is Back Tournament in Florida, the New England Revolution were hoping to put a bit more electricity into the attack and find the back of the net more often in their return to regular season action in Foxboro at Gillette Stadium.
Their scoring drought continued in a scoreless tie with the Philadelphia Union on Thursday night. On Tuesday night, the Revolution continue in their quest at D.C. United, but they will again have to do it without head coach Bruce Arena.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber had suspended Arena for Friday night's match due to a red card that Arena received in a July 25 match against Philadelphia. Garber announced on Monday that Arena will be suspended two additional matches and issued a $15,000 fine for his unacceptable conduct and use of inappropriate language with officials.
Arena will miss Tuesday's game and Saturday against the New York Red Bulls. Assistant Coach Richie Williams will take over for Arena in his absence and try to come up with a badly-needed scoring spark.
“One of the biggest things is knowing that we can do it,” said forward Teal Bunbury. “The goals are only going to come when we’re being put in those good positions to finish chances off. So just being ready in those little moments, being mentally aware and just being focused.”
While the Revs' movement and ball possession have been satisfactory, in the final third of the field, the results have had shortcomings.
“We’re really picking it up and working on our finishing,” Bunbury said. “We know once that first one goes in, that more will come and more will follow. I think we have to just continue to stay on top of each other and demand the best from one another, and continue creating those chances.
“I was pleased with the way we played with the ball. We played as a team. I think we just have to become a little more clinical in front of the goal.”
Arena saw plenty of possibilities for goals against Philadelphia, but was flabbergasted that his team could not capitalize.
“I think, in large segments of the game, we played well," Arena said. "I think in the attack, we, at times, were dangerous but we broke down in some of our decision-making and we had some technical flaws. There’s no reason to believe we can’t get a goal in a game like that.”
New England has won just won of its six matches this season, going 1-1-4while D.C. United is 1-2-3. The Revolution will return to Foxboro Saturday for an 8 p.m. match with the New York Red Bulls.
The Revolution are in the midst of a six-match in 23-day span which places a premium on the physical conditioning of teams and the quality of depth.
“I think there’s going to be a lot of progress,” Bunbury said of the schedule’s challenge. “I think it’s going to be a lot about getting rest and recovery in between games. It’s going to determine the depth of your squad, because I think there’s going to be a lot of rotation.
“A lot of guys that are going to have to be ready when their name and number is called, so being mentally checked in is going to be really important for us, and not taking anything for granted.
“These games are important," he added. "We’re playing Eastern Conference teams, so we need to make sure that we’re getting points out of all of these games. It’s not going to be good enough dropping points.”
MLS has altered the schedules for teams, limiting travel requirements and flights to combat the coronavirus.
“I don’t think this is helping anybody,” Arena said of the schedule. “This is too much, too soon, with the travel and everything else, so this whole year is just going to be a very unpredictable exercise, in my opinion.
“I think it’s going to be these first two weeks getting back in the regular season is going to be challenging for everyone. We’re not going to be able to predict how we deal with the travel, three games in a week, all those kinds of things. It’s going to be a very challenging year.”