“I did love our mentality” | Revs show fight despite loss at Red Bull Arena

5_11_24 Tomas Chancalay at New York Red Bulls

HARRISON, N.J. – A hard-fought performance from the New England Revolution was not enough to stave off the New York Red Bulls, as their two-game away stint closed with a 4-2 defeat on Saturday night. Head coach Caleb Porter and midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye had a number of positive takeaways from the loss in their post-match press conferences, however, and the team will be ready to get right back to work in training during the week ahead of their matchup with the Philadelphia Union at Gillette Stadium next weekend.

The Revs were able to dominate possession throughout the match, and were rewarded with two goals, the first of which saw team captain Carles Gil earn his 100th regular-season goal contribution as a member of the club, making him the fourth Revolution player in history to do so. Porter had nothing but praise for the Spaniard after the match.

“I thought Carles had his best game of the year,” Porter said. Speaking of his teammates in the Revs attack, Porter added, “I thought Tomás [Chancalay] is playing extremely well right now, better than he has played all season long. Giacomo [Vrioni] worked really hard and scored a great goal at the end. I thought our attack played extremely well.”

Kaye similarly had nothing but praise for his captain’s performance.

“Carles is one of the greats in MLS,” he said. “He’ll go down as one of the greats. Obviously through the way he leads us as a captain, but also the way he gets goals and assists … It’s a huge milestone for Carles. We’re very happy for him. He’s going to continue to work hard and continue to break these milestones he creates.”

Porter emphasized multiple times after the match that he felt the level of the attacking side of the Revs’ game was not met in defense.

“I thought we played very well for periods,” he said. “I do think we conceded some goals that we can’t concede if we want to get a result in this game, but our attack played extremely well. Red Bull is a team that wants to press. I think we broke their pressure time and again all game long.”

Porter specifically lifted up the mental toughness exhibited by his players to continue to fight back after falling behind twice in the match, equalizing once and pushing for another leveller from two goals down deep into stoppage time.

“I did love our mentality to go 1-1,” Porter said. “I thought the penalty was very harsh. That’s a big moment in the match as well to make it 2-1 going into the break. I thought at 1-1, we had several good chances to go up 2-1. At 2-1 down, we were knocking on the door at the start of the half and then we give up a goal to go down 3-1, but I loved our response then to come back and go 3-2. We haven’t been able to do that this year. So, these are all things that aren’t going to get lost on me in the progress of this project.”

Kaye echoed the coach’s positivity around the team’s mentality, and particularly that of Vrioni, calling on himself and his teammates to create more chances for the striker to finish.

“Giacomo’s a hard worker,” Kaye said. “The team and I, we need to do better to create more chances for him because he’s constantly making good runs. Today, he didn’t give up and he got his goal, well deserved. I think we can create better chances for him so he can score more goals. In the training sessions he’s scoring every day. He’s working hard, he’s young, he’s hungry. I just hope that as the team progresses, we’ll be able to start producing more for him.”

However, Porter said he ultimately felt that his team’s primary shortcomings in the game were defensive in nature.

“It’s just the moments defensively,” he said. “We didn’t have to defend much today, but the moments we had to defend today – a simple ball over the top early in the game, we’ve got to drop the lines, track, and cover. The penalty, obviously, you throw that out. I don’t think it’s a penalty and I’m not happy about that. But the third goal, we get beat on a wall pass and it’s a cross into the box, they got one guy on three and we don’t track that. And then the fourth goal, obviously, we give away a clearance and they are in behind us. So, we didn’t defend well enough in the moments, the few moments, we had to defend.”

Kaye, on the other hand, concluded that sharpening things on the attacking side of the ball was the major takeaway, making the most of the team’s extended periods of possession and turning two goals into three, four, or more of their own.

“It just means now we need to continue to work on the final third of our game,” he said. “We created some good opportunities, some half-chances. I think we just chose the wrong pass at the wrong time. We weren’t able to create goals from the sustained possession we had and the good build-ups. We’re encouraged with the way we played tonight … You can’t win games unless you score goals. It’s not just on our strikers, it’s also on the entire team to put other guys in better positions so that they can make better decisions leading to better actions leading to goals.”

New England’s attention turns now to Saturday’s home match against the Philadelphia Union, with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m. at Gillette Stadium. The Revs will be hoping to return to winning ways at home, while there will surely be eyes from around the league on this match to see whether or not 14-year-old talent Cavan Sullivan will make an appearance for his hometown club after signing a historic Homegrown contract last week.