FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – A comprehensive 4-1 win over Orlando City SC – a result that stretched the New England Revolution’s unbeaten run to 11 games (7-0-4), matching the club record – wasn’t enough to fully satisfy sporting director and head coach Bruce Arena or his players on Saturday night.
“I don’t think it was a 4-1 game,” Arena said. “I think it was closer than that.”
Arena, who expressed a similar sentiment following last weekend’s 2-0 win in Cincinnati, felt the Revs were too sloppy in their defensive half of the field, and didn’t capitalize on a series of quality chances in the first half that could’ve extended their lead beyond 1-0, courtesy of another Gustavo Bou goal.
What did please Arena, however, was the way the Revs put their foot on the gas in the second half, scoring three times through Cristian Penilla, Carles Gil, and Diego Fagundez to put the game well out of reach and give the Revolution the breathing room they craved.
The Revs, who’ve conceded a league-low nine goals on their 11-game unbeaten run, have now scored multiple goals in six straight games for the first time since April – June 2016.
“We create so many chances in games, and we’re finally putting some away, so that’s really good,” said goalkeeper Matt Turner, who saw his 261-minute shutout streak come to an end in the 77th minute. “In Cincinnati we only scored two, but we could’ve had four.
“It’s one of those things where we’re growing, and the attack looks really fluid, but we need to make sure that we’re consistent and we punch those balls in the goal.”
While the Revs have their sights set on grander goals – they’re now just six points back of first place in the Eastern Conference with a game in hand – Arena did allow himself a moment to appreciate the fact that the Revs have rattled off an unbeaten stretch not matched in these parts in almost 15 years.
“I think this streak has a lot to do with these players,” said Arena. “They’ve really been terrific to work with. They’ve played well, and they’ve dealt with the good and the bad along the way. So it’s real positive.”
That was, of course, only after Arena pointed out that the Revs are still digging themselves out of an early-season hole, and their grasp on the seventh and final playoff spot in the East is still tenuous with just a one-point lead over eighth-place Toronto FC.
What that means is that all 11 games remaining on the Revs’ schedule will be massive, beginning with next weekend’s showdown with league-leading Los Angeles FC at Gillette Stadium.
And that’s where the Revolution’s focus had turned by the final whistle on Saturday night.
“We just have to keep going,” said Fagundez. “11 (unbeaten) is nothing. We need to make it 12 now.”