ORLANDO, Fla. – Bruce Arena was not interested in talking about the potential importance of the point gained from Saturday night’s 3-3 draw with Orlando City SC, because he didn’t feel much like the New England Revolution gained a point – he felt like they dropped two.
“It’s a disappointing point,” said Arena. “We played poorly in the second half. We need to be a better team in the second half. That game was there for us to walk out of here with three points, and we failed to play a good 45 minutes in the second half. And listen, in a lot of ways, we’re fortunate to get out of here with a point.”
Arena’s – and all of New England’s – frustration stemmed from another blown second-half lead. A stunning lob from Cristian Penilla and a clean finish from Gustavo Bou – to follow up an early Orlando own goal – gave the Revs a comfortable 3-1 halftime lead.
But the visitors were slow out of the gate in the second half and they gave Orlando life with Dom Dwyer’s goal just 90 seconds after the break. Nani – who had two goals and one assist – then erased the Revs’ advantage before the second half was 10 minutes old.
It was the sixth time this season the Revs have dropped points when leading at halftime (6-1-5).
“We’ve just got to be better,” said Andrew Farrell. “Maybe we thought we could kill them off, I guess? I don’t know. We’ve just got to be better if we want to be a team that makes the playoffs.
“We’ve come a long way since when we were not doing too well three or four months ago … but we’ve got to kind of take care of business now. (We’ve had) a couple games where we’ve been in positions that a team that’s going to be in the playoffs needs to take care of business. Being up 3-1 is a chance to kill the game off, and we just didn’t do it. We’ve got to learn and look at this and get ready for a really good RSL team next weekend.”
That meeting with Real Salt Lake – the Revolution’s penultimate home game of the regular season – will once again have massive playoff implications as the Montreal Impact’s loss to FC Cincinnati gave New England a three-point cushion above the playoff line with a game in hand on every team behind them.
But as important as Saturday night’s point could prove to be in the playoff race the Revs know there are still plenty of strides to be made, both through the rest of this season and into the 2020 campaign.
“I couldn’t care less (about Montreal losing),” said Arena. “My concern is our team, and our team needs to be better than it was today.”