Bruce Arena readies Revs for test against Mexican opponent
Bruce Arena is no stranger to tournament play between his time at the club level and bounty of FIFA World Cup experience. Arena’s poise under pressure will need to translate to his team as the New England Revolution prepare for their second and final group stage match in Leagues Cup 2023 – Wednesday, July 26 vs. LIGA MX club Atlético de San Luis.
With a win, the Revs move on to the knockout stages, beginning with the Round of 32 during the first week of August. However, a loss in regulation or another defeat in the penalty shootout will end New England’s Leagues Cup run.
With a berth in the knockout rounds on the line, Bruce Arena joined Hardy and Matt McCarthy to brief the hosts on the Revs’ unfamiliar opponent:
“A good team. The Mexican league just started their season about a month ago and they’re a good team. It’ll be a good game,” Arena said on Tuesday afternoon. “Typically, Mexican teams are ahead of MLS. I don’t think that’s the case anymore and we’re going to find out a little bit more tomorrow.”
Leagues Cup has also served as the stage for Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami CF debut, in which the Argentinian superstar netted the game-winning goal with a spectacular free kick in the final moments of the match. Hardy and McCarthy expressed surprise that Messi made such an immediate impact, but Arena reminded them to expect brilliance from the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner.
“First of all, he’s coming off winning a World Cup with Argentina and he’s arguably one of the top five players of all-time. He’s still going to score goals on free kicks like we saw last week,” Arena said of Messi.
“He’s known all over the world and big things are happening in our sport and in our country over the next couple of years with Copa America in 2024 and the World Cup [in 2026], so the United States has gone from a small country in the world’s most popular game to one of the leading countries in a short period of time. Certainly, the World Cup coming again helps that, but Lionel Messi really brings the focus to our sport and to our country.”
New England looks to clinch their spot in the Round of 32 on Wednesday night vs. Atletico de San Luis. Watch the 7:30 p.m. kickoff for free on Apple TV.