MONTREAL – With his New England Revolution side preparing to play four games in 12 days to close the month of September, head coach Bruce Arena recently said that how the group navigated that stretch would play a critical role in their progression towards the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.
Fast forward to the end of September and the Revs have gone 3-0-1 in that four-game stretch, 5-0-1 in the month overall, and 13-1-2 since early July ahead of a 17-day break during the international window, capped off by Wednesday night’s comprehensive 4-1 win over CF Montréal at Stade Saputo.
“It’s a great feeling,” said DeJuan Jones, who opened the scoring with his third goal of the season. “With the short rest, I think we did a really good job. We were able to rotate the squad, get guys fresh for games, and I think we’re happy with where we are right now. So, going into the break with guys going on international duty, guys get to rest up a little bit and get ready for the last stretch of the season.”
New England have every right to be happy with where they are right now. Wednesday night’s triumph secured the first 20-win season in club history, moved the Revolution’s club-record points total to 65, and saw them break the team record for goals in a season (57). They’re on pace to break the MLS records for points in a season (72) and points per game (2.13) with five matches left on the schedule.
But as they have all season the Revs also analyzed their most recent win with a scrutinous eye, identifying areas where they feel they need to improve ahead of the postseason, likely slated to begin for the Revolution in late November as they inch closer to locking up the East’s top seed.
“It was a really sloppy game on our part,” said Arena, now just two victories shy of Sigi Schmid’s all-time regular-season wins mark (240). “I thought we played well for a good 30 minutes or so in the first half. Second half, I think Montreal had the better of us for long segments of the game, and if they’d gotten a second goal, it would’ve made things interesting. I think the last 10-15 minutes of the game, we played better.”
“There’s still a few things we want to – I think ‘fine-tune’ is the right word,” said Henry Kessler. “Obviously, the results have been very good, and we’ve put ourselves in a good position. But there are a few things we need to work out and still improve on. So, there’s still room for improvement and heading into the playoffs we still have five more opportunities to improve.”
That next opportunity won’t come until October 16, however, as the Revs are slated for a two-and-a-half week break during the upcoming international window. Several players are expected to join their respective national teams, but a large portion of the roster will have the opportunity to rest, recharge, and put in the work in training before another stretch of four games in 12 days from October 16-27.
“It was good because it’s been a very difficult couple of months,” said Arena. “I think the break is going to be good for us. We come back and we have a very difficult month of October to close out the regular season, so I think a little break now is going to be important.”