FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – With a commanding 5-0 win over Inter Miami, the New England Revolution climbed to the top of the Supporters’ Shield standings on Wednesday night with an attack that was firing on all cylinders in Florida.
While it was unquestionably a team effort to secure a massive three points on the road, Icelandic midfielder Arnór Traustason set the tone by opening the scoring in the 15th minute with a perfectly directed header from Carles Gil’s free kick. It was Traustason’s first-ever goal for the club, and paired with a second goal in the 36th minute, they came with a big boost of confidence.
“It was fantastic to get those goals,” said Traustason. “Some chip off my shoulder is gone now."
The MLS newcomer joined the Revs for the first time in training on April 19, and made his debut only five days later in the squad’s home opener on April 24 against D.C. United. Traustason has appeared in all of the team’s 14 games since his arrival, with 10 starts in his debut MLS season. While Traustason had notched two assists in a Revolution kit, he had been searching for his first goal with the club.
Traustason achieved the milestone on Wednesday night - and more - securing a huge brace en route to the team’s 5-0 win over Miami.
“I'm sure [Arnór Traustason] is relieved,” said head coach Bruce Arena. “I don't know if he is, but I would think that he is. Any player that is pushing to get a goal and finally gets it, it's important for their confidence, so I'm sure he's feeling good about it.”
Arena recognized that coming from Malmö FF in Sweden, it would likely take time for Traustason to fully settle into MLS. His performance at Inter Miami was a positive sign that he’s doing just that.
“He's getting there,” said Arena. “I didn't think the transition would be tremendously difficult as opposed to players who come from South America, for example. So, he's making the transition.
“I think the goal[s] tonight [were] very important for his confidence, because he's had some chances over the last 10 games or so and has failed to convert. So tonight, it's great to see that he got two goals.”
To complement Traustason getting on the scoresheet twice, he also competed 35 of 36 passes on the night, which is 97.2% accuracy.
“I thought he looked great tonight,” said A.J. DeLaGarza. “I think the entire midfield [looked great.] I think that was his first goal, as well. He’d been waiting for that for a while.
“He’s had some chances and hopefully now it opens up the floodgates for him because he does bring a different dynamic from some other guys on the team. The way he makes runs, his passing ability, and he’s just a really good combination player, as well. I’m happy for him to get his first goal.”
For Traustason, his first goal was full of emotion, and he kept a special person close to his heart as he got on the board for the first time for New England.
“It was something that I've been waiting for,” said Traustason. “I've been getting close a couple of times. So, I thought about it and I want to thank my grandfather for this. He was watching over me.”
Traustason knows that the work only continues from here, and he’s ready to continue his upward trajectory in MLS.
“The game has just ended,” said Traustason. “It’s nice to get those goals in, but I have to keep my head down and just work hard, because this league is not easy. It will not come on its own. So, work hard and just keep on going.”
Traustason and the Revolution will kick off next at Gillette Stadium on Sunday against CF Montréal at 6 p.m. ET.