Arena and Revolution ready for showdown of top two teams in MLS
The Revolution climbed to the pinnacle of the MLS standings with their most recent 2-1 win against Sporting Kansas City. This week, the team nipping at the Revs’ heels, FC Cincinnati, will try to knock them off the top spot when they visit Foxborough on Saturday night. Bruce Arena checked in with Zolak & Bertrand on Thursday to preview the pivotal matchup.
“It’s a good measuring stick for us. I think Cincinnati is one of the top five teams in the league, so this will be a great matchup for us,” Arena said of Saturday’s opponent. “Both teams are kind of comparable. We both have very good playmakers – they have [Luciano] Acosta, we have [Carles] Gil… They’ve got a very athletic team which is fairly similar to ours. It should make for a very good game.”
For Revolution fans who suffered through a disappointing 2022 season, which left New England watching the MLS Cup Playoffs from their couches, it is easy to see why the team’s blistering start has rekindled memories of the record-breaking 2021 team. Even Arena help but start to notice some similarities between this team and his 2021 Supporters’ Shield winners.
“To be honest with you, I can’t compare 2021 with this year,” Arena said. “They’re all different, but I think the one characteristic we have this year that we did have in 2021 as well is that despite games where we aren’t at our best, we still manage to find ways to win and get three points.
“They’ve fought through some difficult times in games, and we’ve gotten contributions from a lot of people, so that’s a real positive. Hopefully, as we move forward, we get a little help here, we play a little bit better, and we can become a good team by the time we enter the second half of the season.”
The Revs have been especially dominant at home, where they are an undefeated 4-0-1 and outscoring visitors 11-2. Zolak asked Arena what makes the Revolution so strong on their home turf.
“I think all teams in our sport are better at home than they are on the road. I think you could say the same about the NFL as well,” Arena said of his team’s form in Foxborough. “We’ve played well on the road as well, so good teams win anywhere. Right now, to start the season, we’ve been a pretty good team.”
Saturday’s match against FC Cincinnati will bring deep connections between the coaching staffs and a family reunion of sorts to Gillette Stadium. Bruce’s son, Kenny Arena, is an assistant coach on FC Cincinnati’s staff under Pat Noonan, who played five seasons with the Revolution from 2003-07.
“I think in terms of knowing the other team and some of the things they may do, it’s pretty much a wash, but will also be an enjoyable game. We love competing against each other, so it should make for a real good day.”
Saturday’s meeting with FC Cincinnati kicks off at 7:30 p.m. on 98.5 The Sports Hub, with Brad Feldman and Charlie Davies in the booth, or watch on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.