Bruce Arena: New England Revolution need focus for 90 minutes, not just moments

ORLANDO, Fla. – New England Revolution sporting director and head coach Bruce Arena knew what the stakes were heading into Saturday’s crucial match at Orlando City.

But following a 3-3 draw, which saw the Revs surrender a 3-1 lead in the second half, Arena was left disappointed. New England are now winless across their last three games and stuck in a 1-2-4 stretch since going 11 games unbeaten over the summer.

“It’s a disappointing point,” said Arena. “We played poorly in the second half, we need to be a better team in the second half. That game was there for us to walk out of here with three points. We failed to play a good 45 minutes in the second half and, listen, in a lot of ways we’re fortunate to get out of here with a point.”

New England jumped out to an early advantage, benefiting from a Tesho Akindele own goal in the 13th minute. Despite Nani’s 22nd-minute equalizer, the Revs opened a 3-1 lead before halftime behind goals from Cristian Penilla and Gustavo Bou. Then the Lions roared back, scoring twice after the halftime interval, drawing level on a Dom Dwyer flicked header and Nani curler.

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Put that all together and it left Arena refusing to look at the positives from the first 45 minutes. Rather, he pointed to inconsistency throughout the entire game as the blockade.

“The game is 90 minutes,” Arena said. “We’re not jumping for joy because of the first half. We need to be better over 90 minutes and that’s been our challenge all year.”

New England still hold the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race, three points clear of the Montreal Impact and Chicago Fire.

But with the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs race shaping up for a tense finish, defender Andrew Farrell spoke about having the right mentality heading into their final four games of the season. The Revs haven’t made the playoffs since 2015 and are looking to avoid missing out on postseason play for the fourth straight season.

“It’s tight, tight everywhere,” Farrell said. “We got some tough games coming up, we need to take care of business at home next weekend, but obviously last week we ended up not getting points. I mean, we got points, but it’s just disappointing having the three in the back pocket and not coming out with the right mentality in the second half.

“Credit to them, they put us under pressure,” he added. “But at the same time, we are a good enough team when we’re up 3-1, we got to take care of it and come away with three [points].”


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