The New England Revolution are unbeaten in 13 of their last 14 MLS matches, but it would be difficult to know that fact by solely watching Saturday night’s game.
Bruce Arena and his Eastern Conference side tied the New York Red Bulls, 1-1, after Gustavo Bou’s second-half strike cancelled out Marc Rzatkowski’s finish in the opening stanza.
Arena certainly didn’t mince words during his halftime interview though.
With the Revolution trailing by a goal and seemingly being outplayed in every facet of the game through 45 minutes, Arena simply wanted better from his side.
“We have a bunch of players that are afraid to be on the ball,” Arena said during a television appearance. “We’re not winning any tackles. We were completely outworked for 45 minutes.
“We’ve got to have a little composure to start the second half. The best thing I would say about that half is it’s a miracle we’re only down a goal.”
The Revs came out with more hunger after the halftime whistle, and began to show why the team has risen in the Eastern Conference standings since Arena took charge in May.
Carles Gil picked up his 11th assist of the 2019 season, which ranks fifth in MLS, while goalkeeper Matt Turner recorded a personal-high with nine saves against the Red Bulls.
Despite the result, Arena was understandably displeased with his side’s first-half performance and knows that New England cannot afford to play that poorly if the Revs want to qualify for the playoffs.
“Any time this time of year you’ve got a point on the road against a conference open, it’s big and probably a good lesson for us to get us prepared for these last eight games,” Arena said. “We have no chance of making the playoffs if we played like we played in the first half. Perhaps it’s a good lesson for us.”
New England’s remaining regular-season schedule isn’t forgiving, with the Revs playing five matches against teams currently above the red line in their respective conferences.
Games against Toronto FC and Orlando City are up next, with both sides on the verge of playoff contention. If the Revs want to hold onto their playoff position, Arenas team will certainly need to earn it over the final two months of the season.