New England Revolution "scratching the surface" of their potential


The New England Revolution are gaining steam.

After starting the Caleb Porter era with just seven points from their first 13 matches, New England have won three on the bounce. Following gutsy wins over Nashville SC and the New York Red Bulls, New England defeated Vancouver Whitecaps FC 3-2 on Saturday, producing a first-half performance reminiscent of their Supporters' Shield-winning 2021 campaign.

Are they back?

"We wanted to get 13 points minimum in quarter two. We got 12. So we're a point underneath that," Porter said post-match. "We wanted to get at least four wins and a draw and we got four wins. I would have loved five wins, but by and large a marked improvement."

During this run, center back Dave Romney has returned to the starting lineup and paired with newly-acquired Xavier Arreaga in front of goalkeeper Aljaz Ivacic. Dylan Borrero and DeJuan Jones, back from injury, have settled in again. Carles Gil, the 2021 Landon Donovan MLS MVP, remains their ever-constant leader.

From that foundation, homegrowns Noel Buck and Esmir Bajraktarevic stepped up with big-time goals against Vancouver and much-criticized DP striker Giacomo Vrioni joined the goals. Buck's golazo, in particular, stood out.

"He's got that in him," Porter said of Buck. "I saw it last year when I was watching film on him. And for whatever reason, early in the year, we weren't seeing that. I think it's just taken time for him, like everybody, to find that balance of 'here's our tactics', but also 'go and play, man, go and play.' You know, don't be a robot and let your instincts take over. So that was him stepping forward and having a goal. He does have that in him and I'd like to see it more."

New England are pleased with three wins in a row, but they're still last in the Eastern Conference with games in hand. Porter recognizes that while there has been progress of late, they haven't accomplished anything yet.

"I'm gonna keep being on their backs," Porter said. "We're nowhere near where we need to be. We're still in a hole, we gotta keep fighting and we're just scratching the surface of the team that we wanna be. But I love that we're growing in confidence and that our execution is getting better and better. And I love that we scored three goals."