“They bring confidence and experience” | Revs boosted by recent additions, eye more in summer

4_27_24 Xavier Arreaga vs

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – After a 2023 season that showed signs of promise and despite a returning core of veteran players, the New England Revolution’s 2024 MLS campaign has not started as the club or its fans would have hoped, with only four points from the team’s first nine league games. However, two defensive additions to the roster on transfer deadline day have already gotten players and coaching staff looking forward to what lies ahead for the team in the coming months.

Defender Xavier Arreaga played the full 90 minutes against Inter Miami CF this past Saturday, just days after being acquired via trade from Seattle Sounders FC. Goalkeeper Aljaž Ivačič, whom the Revs signed from free agency on deadline day, was also slated to start, only being kept out of the XI by an illness that ran through the squad on matchday.

Head coach Caleb Porter was pleased with Arreaga’s performance in the Miami game and expressed his confidence for the Ecuadorian’s future with the club.

“[He is] a good player,” Porter said after the defeat on Saturday. “He’s going to be a great addition for us. He’s only been here two days, so I think you saw his quality on the ball defensively.”

Arreaga demonstrated that quality in part by recording 70 touches during the match, a total only bettered by Nick Lima and Carles Gil among Revolution players. He also completed 44 passes on the night, a tally that reflects the role Porter intends for the defender to have in helping the team play out of the back.

The coach detailed his intentions for how both Arreaga and Ivačič will impact the team’s style of play after training on Tuesday.

“They are good on the ball and are very composed,” Porter said of the two additions. “It allows us to play out of the back. It is really hard to play out of the back unless your goalkeeper is calm and your center backs are calm on the ball, and those two guys are going to help a lot in that regard.”

Porter also highlighted the level of experience that both new players bring to the team.

“They bring confidence and they bring experience, and not just professional experience, but MLS experience,” Porter said. “They know this league and they have won in this league, and they have been successful in this league.”

Arreaga won both MLS Cup and the Concacaf Champions League during his time in Seattle, in 2019 and 2022 respectively, while Ivačič was a part of the 2021 Portland Timbers side that narrowly missed out on MLS Cup glory.

Revs midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye echoed Porter’s sentiment after Tuesday’s training.

“They are veteran players,” he said of Arreaga and Ivačič. “They are experienced in MLS, so they understand what it takes to fit in seamlessly to a team.”

Kaye also said he hoped that his new teammates would help provide the spark needed for the team to turn their results around, lauding them both as confident players and strong leaders.

“That’s definitely what you need when you’re trying to get yourself out of this rut,” he said. “We’re excited to have them.”

For his own part, Arreaga has been doing his best to settle into the team after a whirlwind week that culminated with a fixture against the best team in the league in front of a record home crowd.

“Obviously, this week was a little busy for me,” Arreaga said after the Miami game. Nevertheless, he was eager to get involved with the team right away, saying, “There was that opportunity that I didn’t want to let pass.”

He added that he enjoyed playing in front of the record-breaking home crowd, saying, “My first impression of the stadium and the fans was really nice.”

Porter has said that he expects Arreaga and Ivačič will only be the first two pieces in the larger project of building out the squad, a project that he looks forward to continuing in July’s secondary transfer window.

“We expect to have much more flexibility in the summer window,” Porter said last week after the two signings were announced, “and we expect to make another three to four to five moves in that window, as well. We have targeted positions and players for that window.”

Porter added that he anticipates results on the pitch to improve over the next set of matches now that these additions have been made.

“Part of that [improvement] is adding a piece here or there,” he said, “and we feel like we added, for sure, two pieces that make us better. In every transfer window, we will get better.”