PORTLAND, Ore. – Sebastian Lletget sent a clear message on Saturday night at Providence Park, marking his New England Revolution debut with a spectacular goal in the Revs’ 2-2 draw with the Portland Timbers.
That message: I’m here.
“I want to make my mark on this team,” Lletget said postgame. “I want to do well, to help this team win a championship. I’m here to create things and I’m here to add value to the team, and to score a goal on my debut and just build on that, that’s kind of where that message was.”
Lletget was acquired by New England this past December, ending his memorable seven-year run with the LA Galaxy. While the 29-year-old midfielder enjoyed early success in LA under current Revolution head coach Bruce Arena in 2015 and 2016 – parlaying those performances into a consistent place with the U.S. Men’s National Team in recent years – Lletget has been open about his own performances during a tumultuous 2021 campaign.
Starting fresh in Foxborough has offered Lletget the opportunity to put any disappointments in the past, and he took a huge step towards doing so on Saturday night, becoming the first Revolution player to score on his debut since Gustavo Bou back in July of 2019.
“Again, I just want to keep adding value to this team,” said Lletget. “Last year, as a team, it wasn’t the best year collectively, and I guess for the team, individually, I know I could’ve done better. So it’s one of my goals to come here to the New England Revolution and just do better and add value.”
Lletget added significant value in his debut, playing 79 minutes in the midfield and providing the perfect response to Portland’s first equalizer in the 60th minute, scoring to push the Revolution back in front just three minutes later. It was a deft, first-time finish, guiding home DeJuan Jones’ cross with his left foot.
Still, Arena – in typical fashion – was quick to rein in the hype.
“It’s game one. There’s 33 more games left in the regular season. We’ll just let that play out a little bit before we can analyze it too much,” Arena said. “But give him credit. It was a good goal, played pretty well, played hard for about 75 minutes, and I think he’s a good addition to our team.”
That aspect of “team” has been vital for Lletget, who only joined his Revolution teammates for the first time about three weeks ago after wrapping up duty with the USMNT. But in those three weeks Lletget has already made up his mind about the Revolution locker room.
“They’ve embraced me since day one, since I got here,” said Lletget. “This locker room is probably one of the best I’ve ever seen, and in such a short amount of time, I can definitely tell you that with certainty.
“I think I saw the character of the team [tonight]. It’s always a transition. It’s tough. I went from one end of the country to the other, and you know, still finding a place to stay, things like that. I’ve never had to do that before, so it’s been an experience, but I love these guys. The team has embraced me and, again, thankfully we pulled one out tonight together.”