“We just have to take care of the details” | Revs focus on cleaning up efforts in final third

5_29_24 Giacomo Vrioni vs

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – After a disappointing outing marred by an early red card against the Philadelphia Union the week prior, the New England Revolution came into this past Saturday’s game against New York City FC confident in their gameplan and hopeful for a change in fortunes. The game was hard-fought and tense, but ultimately only had one goal in it, one that unfortunately went the way of the visitors.

What doesn’t show up on the scoreline is the fact that a foot or two was all that separated a number of chances – a long-range effort from Dylan Borrero, for instance, or a six-yard header from Xavier Arreaga – from registering as goals.

“Close” isn’t close enough in soccer, though, and head coach Caleb Porter said after training on Tuesday that it was the team’s quality in the final third that was preventing their good performances from coming off as great ones, and that this would continue to be an area of focus as the squad prepares for this weekend’s trip to Nashville SC.

“We just have to take care of the details in the final third,” Porter said of the loss to NYCFC, “and that’s a two- or three-zero win, in my opinion. So, we can’t lose sight of that. Sometimes it compounds because [of a] lack of results, you forget the good; it’s my job to remind them of the good, so that’s what I did today.”

There certainly was plenty of good in New England’s performance in front of the Gillette Stadium crowd on Saturday: 16 shots to NYC’s 14, six of those on target to NYC’s four, all while enjoying 57 percent possession and passing with a hair under 91 percent accuracy. If just one or two of those shots flies the right side of the post, the game starts to look very different, and Porter wants to make sure that this will be the case going forward.

“We work every day on it,” Porter said. “Today, we were around goal the whole session. A lot of it is just the decision making, and it's the player in the moment. Whether we're in on a breakaway, finding that right touch to prepare to finish, or whether we’re in a half-space on the right and we've got to find the slide across the goal. It's just those little details and in some cases, it's confidence, as well. The good news is we're getting in good spots, and again, we played really well. So, it doesn't help you feel better with the result, but it helps you as a coach and as a team feel like we're closer to turning this thing around.”

Team captain Carles Gil was forthcoming about the need to improve in the final third, not backing away from the reality of the team’s position in the table and the importance of finding goalscoring form as soon as possible.

“We are the worst team in the league and it’s the truth,” Gil said. “We don’t score goals, we concede many goals. We create some chances, but in the end, for the moment, we are the worst team. We need to keep working and obviously try to be better in everything.”

It can’t be overlooked that Porter’s preferred attacking line of Borrero, Gil, Giacomo Vrioni, and Tomás Chancalay only had roughly 10 minutes to set their sights on NYC’s goal, as the Argentine winger was forced off early with an injury. Porter initially said after the game that he “didn’t think it’s too bad,” but did not have any updates on Chancalay either way on Tuesday.

“I don’t know yet, to be honest with you,” Porter said. “They are still meeting with the doctors and everything, so we don’t know. I’ll have an update when I have it.”

That injury gave young winger Esmir Bajraktarević another chance to show what he can do, though, and the vast majority of the Revs’ chances against the Bronx Blues came during the 80 minutes that the Wisconsin native was on the pitch. Bajraktarević has been no stranger to the starting lineup in recent weeks, and he’ll be as ready as ever to keep helping the team however he can, whether from kickoff or from the bench, as the season marches on.

New England will travel to GEODIS Park this weekend for their first of two regular-season matches with Nashville SC. The Tennessee club is working through a rough patch, with only two wins in their last 10 matches (2-4-4) leaving them adrift in 11th in the Eastern Conference ahead of their midweek showdown with red-hot FC Cincinnati.