“We have to continue on this path” | Revs prep for New York looking to build momentum

5_8_24 Training action

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution were excited to pick up their first road win of the season against Chicago Fire FC last weekend, thanks to a staunch defensive showing across the board and a Goal of the Matchday contender from forward Tomás Chancalay. But attention has already fully turned to preparing to face the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena on Saturday, a fixture that has historically caused trouble for the Revs, and the squad is hoping to parlay one win into two this weekend and build momentum going into the summer months.

The Red Bulls will be looking to bounce back immediately from their loss to Inter Miami CF when they host the Revolution, just like New England themselves did against Chicago. However, head coach Caleb Porter said after training on Tuesday that he was thinking less about what New York’s mindset might be going into the match and more about how his men can play their own game.

“I think we have to be more focused on our mentality,” he said. “That was, last week, a point of emphasis: ‘Let’s work on our execution.’ In the game of football, if you do what you want to do, that's half the equation or more. I thought we did that in the latter stages of the first half and the entire second half, and I think that was a big reason we won the game.”

Midfielder Esmir Bajraktarević echoed the same sentiment as his coach, saying that taking command of the game would be a key to winning on Saturday and building a positive run of results going forward.

“I think the main thing is just playing our game,” he said. “I think when you look back at most of our games, it's kind of us beating ourselves rather than the other way around. So, it's kind of just making sure that we're doing the best that we can, and the results will come.”

Porter said that building and sustaining momentum is especially important in MLS, and that he expects the Red Bulls to provide a significant challenge to his team’s attempt to do so.

“It’s a league of ups and downs, and runs,” he said. "You see teams that string two, three wins together, you shoot up the table, so can we do that now? Can we turn this last game, the result, into another win? It's going to be more difficult, this one. Red Bull is one of the best teams in the East. They've shown that this year and their new coach [Sandro Schwarz] has done a great job. They are playing a little bit more than in the past, keeping the ball more, still press really well in the right moments, and they are still disruptive. We have to be smart in terms of how we play and how we try to build out. So, that'll be a big part of our prep this week.”

Porter has outlined how he thinks of the season schedule as broken up into four distinct quarters, and the win at Soldier Field was certainly a strong result two games into this second leg. Porter said Tuesday that his focus was simply to “just keep stacking up results” in the next six games.

“I told the guys today, it's great we got a win and had a good performance, but we can't relax,” he said. “We have to stay hungry. We have to keep focused on improving every single day, like we did last week. Last week, we had a great week of training; I think you saw it in the game. We're still scratching the surface of the team that we want to be, that we need to be, so have another good week of training. That's the key.”

Chancalay also reflected on the importance of gaining momentum, saying the win in Chicago has boosted the mood in the locker room and set a foundation on which the team can build.

“We’re very happy,” he said via translator. “I think it helps change the energy of the team. It’s much easier to build on and work after the wins than the losses. But we have to continue on this path and focus on Red Bull. We’re not done yet. We have to win many more games to reach the goal of making the playoffs.”

After netting in his second straight match, Chancalay said he was happy to be getting on the scoresheet but that his primary focus has been and continues to be pitching in however he can both in training and in games.

“I feel very good,” he said. "I’m happy with the goals. They help a lot with my confidence, but like always, even when I wasn’t scoring goals, I try to help the team. Right now, I’m helping with goals, thanks to God, and hopefully I can continue helping the team win games.”

Porter is also happy with Chancalay’s recent form, and said he expected the Argentinian to continue to perform well and boost the team.

“It's funny how, when you get your first, the floodgates open a bit and the confidence comes,” he said. “I think our whole team is going to be more confident because of the result and the performance … He's in a good spot mentally right now, which I like, and he's got goals. I’ve said it from day one, he can score. When he gets around goal, he can score. The rest of the game, he's learning to be simple, and he's working very hard as well, defensively, on both sides of the ball.”

The Revolution will go into the weekend at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, but only seven points behind D.C. United for the second Wild Card spot. The Red Bulls, meanwhile, sit 4th in the East and boast an undefeated record at home in the league. New England will hope to take advantage of a defense that just conceded six goals to Miami, and to replicate their own stonewall performance at the back and pick up a second straight win on the road.