“Good technique, a deadly finish” | Chancalay sharpening up for Revs’ MLS return

8_22_23 Tomas Chancalay training

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England Revolution assistant coach Richie Williams says new signing Tomás Chancalay could make his club debut in this weekend’s trip to CF Montréal.

The Argentine winger – a July loan signing from Racing Club with 35 career goals and 20 assists to his name – had made the bench for his new side in the Leagues Cup last 16 encounter against Querétaro FC before suffering a thigh injury while featuring for Revolution II in MLS NEXT Pro action against Atlanta United 2.

With the 24-year-old having now returned to full training, Williams revealed Chancalay is pushing for his first minutes, with new teammates captain Carles Gil and defender Dave Romney impressed with what they have seen from the new recruit so far.

“He looks good,” Williams stated. “He looks good in training – he’s back on the field, he’s finally fit and healthy.

“Unfortunately, when he played the Revs II game, he only played about 10 minutes and he got injured, so that was unfortunate.

“We wanted to see him in a game situation and also help him with his fitness because he hadn’t played in some months.

“We’re going to monitor him all week, and hopefully he continues to progress, and then we’ll see if he’s going to be good to go for the weekend.”

Romney, who celebrated the joyful arrival of newborn twin daughters Parker and June last week, had spent a little time off with his family, but is looking forward to seeing the new signing in competitive action.

“I was out for one of the weeks with the twins being born so I haven’t seen him train too much – just a couple of sessions – but he’s really clean on the ball,” the defender commented.

“He has good technique, has a deadly finish sometimes so I’m excited to see him get his fitness, find his feet and really contribute for us.”

Skipper Gil is also hoping to feature at Stade Saputo, having missed the Querétaro clash through injury.

Leading the assist charts in MLS this season, the Revs’ All-Star midfielder is relishing the prospect of linking up with Chancalay, who he feels has further bolstered the squad’s offensive options.

“He’s another player in the attacking third, so hopefully we will have a good chemistry and we will have good moments,” he added.

“He had some problem with a kick, playing for the second team, so he’s starting to train now but hopefully, he will soon be fit, and he can help us.

“We are in a very good moment in MLS so we want to continue like this. We will try to continue winning games. We know that [FC] Cincinnati lost against Columbus [Crew], so we want to be close to them.”

New England return to MLS action this weekend on the back of a 19-day break following the conclusion of their Leagues Cup campaign, resuming their regular season schedule with a first domestic fixture since the 4-0 triumph over D.C. United on July 15.

With the period having provided the opportunity to recharge, Williams shared an update on the health of the squad (including the fitness of forward Gustavo Bou), and asserts the Revs are champing at the bit to restart the season, ready to chase top spot in the Eastern Conference and Supporters’ Shield standings, and hungry to mount a strong playoff push.

“We’ve had some good training, we’ve had some downtime also for the players to recuperate,” he continued. 

“[Bou] is moving along. He’s just dealing with a minor muscle injury but little by little, we feel he’s getting better and hopefully, he’ll be on the field sooner rather than later.

“It was nice to play in the Leagues Cup. I thought we did fairly well, and we were unlucky in the PKs [against Querétaro] to go out of the tournament.

“We’re ready to go, we have a nice week to prepare for getting up to Montréal for Saturday’s game.”

Romney, who has played every minute of MLS and Leagues Cup action this term, agreed: “It's exciting. 

“You kind of get bored after a while just scrimmaging ourselves, so it'll be fun to start playing other teams again and get back in the flow of a regular season schedule.

“The Leagues Cup was a really fun tournament to play, and I hope we do it again. I think lot of the players enjoyed it, as well.

“I don’t know about any lessons [learned] per se – just like little things that our team wish to improve on.

“It was really fun getting to play against the Mexican teams, and hopefully we can next year. Maybe it will be a little more fair for them if we go down to Mexico to play some games, but we’ll take that homefield advantage if we get it.”

Saturday’s visit to Montréal marks the first match in a three-game week for the Revs, who then welcome the New York Red Bulls (Wednesday, August 30) and Austin FC (Saturday, September 2) to Gillette Stadium.

Montréal hold a notable home record of 8-3-0 in 2023, and Williams says he and the squad are ready to embrace the challenge at Stade Saputo, eager to build a run of momentum.

“They’re an improved team,” the assistant coach noted of this weekend’s opponents. “They’ve changed up their lineup a little bit in terms of personnel – they like to play.

“Going away anyway on the road, and going to Montréal is never easy. It’s going to be a difficult game. They’re a good team.

“We have to be ready, we have to be prepared. They played against Toronto FC the other night so they’ve got one game where we’ve been off. You would hope we would be fresh from the time off that we’ve had; that we can go up, be competitive, play well and get a result.

“We’re in a good position – second place in the East – and we have three games in a week next week. We’re going to have to rely on our depth, a couple of guys being injured. It’s never easy, it’s always difficult.

“The league is a tough league – every game is competitive and especially when you go on the road, it’s hard. We have to be ready, we have to prepare, and we have to take from our experiences all year: how we’ve been playing well, and continue to play well and get better.

“Even throughout the year when we won games, it wasn’t always perfect so how can we be better? In certain games, maybe we didn’t play great but we still got a result. We have to do better, keep this momentum going and keep getting positive results until the end of the season.

“Going into the final third of the season, it’s going to get much more competitive because teams are playing for getting into playoffs. We have to be ready, and it’s our job to get the players ready. We’ll take it one game at a time.”