Revolution's Vrioni hits top form with Leagues Cup hat-trick: "It was just great to see"


The New England Revolution were emphatic in their qualification for the Leagues Cup Round of 32 on Wednesday night, dispatching Liga MX outfit San Luis by a lopsided 5-1 scoreline.

The goal-fest was catalyzed by Giacomo Vrioni, who was automatic in the final third en route to his first hat trick as a Rev. The Albanian international opened the scoring in the 15th minute, adding goals on either side of halftime to ice the result.

"He finished his chances," head coach and sporting director Bruce Arena said in his typical nonchalant delivery. "He played very well. Gustavo \[Bou\] and Carles \[Gil\] played well with him."

All three of New England's Designated Players were in flying form, and their connection was on full display in Vrioni's second goal of the night.

Following a quick counterattack, Bou played a low cross into the box, which seemingly teed up Gil for a trademark left-footed strike. Instead of taking the shot, the 2021 Landon Donovan MLS MVP let the ball roll, playing a perfect dummy to provide Vrioni with a simple finish.

It was Vrioni's third goal, though, that had Arena smiling. With the win practically guaranteed already, the 24-year-old was nonetheless on a mission, splitting the defenders with his run and putting his body on the line with a sliding finish to beat goalkeeper Andrés Sánchez.

"The third goal was something we've been working on with him since he got here," he said. "He didn't ever believe that was his job as a striker. So it was just great to see. The third goal was the one that I liked the best, actually."

With their qualification to the Round of 32 secured, New England will be watching Sunday's match between San Luis and New York Red Bulls to determine their final position in the East's Group 4. Despite the 5-1 win, Arena certainly doesn't plan on writing off San Luis.

"They're a good team," he smiled. "They'll give Red Bull a difficult game on Sunday."