CINCINNATI – “It definitely wasn’t our best performance.”
“I don’t think it was our best game.”
“I think we can play better, and that’s the message I gave the team at the end of the game.”
Those don’t exactly sound like the postgame comments of a team unbeaten in 10 after a comfortable 2-0 road win, but that was the sentiment of Matt Turner, Diego Fagundez, and Bruce Arena following the New England Revolution’s victory over FC Cincinnati on Sunday night at Nippert Stadium.
Carles Gil scored the opening goal and assisted on Antonio Delamea’s insurance strike – bringing his team-leading totals up to seven goals and eight assists – and from there the Revs scratched and clawed their way to another shutout, their second in five days and their third of the current unbeaten run.
In 90-plus-degree heat and at the end of a three-games-in-10-days stretch, the Revs didn’t necessarily need their best performance – they just needed to find a way to win.
“The effort’s there,” said Arena. “We’re playing collectively, which is good to see, and we’re getting better. We’re winning games on the road, too, which is very important. I can’t complain. It was a good week for us.”
Arena felt the Revs mismanaged some numerical advantages in the attacking third – “We were too sloppy,” he said – and noted a few unnecessary fouls to concede dangerous set pieces, but he had plenty of praise for the work put in from Fagundez, filling in for the suspended Luis Caicedo in a deeper-lying central midfield role.
Turner was stellar, as well, making seven saves to keep the clean sheet, including a massive double-save just moments after the Revs had taken a 2-0 lead and when an FC Cincinnati goal could’ve swung momentum back in favor of the hosts.
“I always say that I’m just happy to be able to make an impact on the game at some level,” said Turner, noting he didn’t have much to do in the 4-0 midweek win over Vancouver Whitecaps FC. “The timing of it was huge, but you know what, I don’t really care about that. I’m just happy we got three points.”
Those three points shoot the Revs above the playoff line in the Eastern Conference, now sixth in the East on points-per-game (1.36) and separated from second-place Atlanta United FC by just six points.
After taking seven points from a hectic week the Revs will now host Orlando City SC and Los Angeles FC in back-to-back home games, and they’ll have an opportunity to establish a new club-record unbeaten run in the process.
But setting a new club-record unbeaten run isn’t the Revolution’s objective.
They simply want to keep improving.
“We just need to continue to grow,” Turner said. “That’s the message, week-in, week-out – just keep growing, keep building. We’re trying to reach our group’s full potential.”
What is that potential? We’ll find out through the final 12 games of the regular season, and, if the Revolution continue to meet their objectives, possibly into the playoffs.