After advancing to the Round of 16 in the U.S. Open Cup, the juggling between cup play and league play begins
The New England Revolution dominated FC Cincinnati on Wednesday night defeating them 5-1 but that unfortunately won’t boost New England up the Eastern Conference.
New England advanced to the Round of 16 of the U.S. Open Cup and will find out who they play next in the tournament on Thursday while they also begin preparations to play Atlanta United on Sunday in the club’s return to MLS play.
While cup play can be fun and it’s always great to lift a trophy, the tournament also provides some challenges. Players’ minutes need to be managed and it can add some wear to key players.
On Wednesday the Revs trotted out a virtually full-strength starting XI. The starting back line was in front of Djordje Petrović and both healthy Designated Players (Adam Buksa and Carles Gil) started the match.
Head Coach and Sporting Director Bruce Arena believes that New England needs to start winning matches no matter what the competition is.
“I don’t know. Help me. You guys obviously know more than I do in all of this stuff. So, you’ll probably give us some suggestions,” Arena said when asked about balancing play in both competitions. “But we need to win games. We should have six wins in the league at this point, and we have three. I think every time we step on the field, we need to win games. Tonight’s a start. We’ve gotten better over the last month. We’re getting better, but we have a long way to go. We have a new player [Dylan Borrero] coming in tomorrow who will help our roster as well. We’re making progress, but you know, we have to put W’s on the board at this point.”
If New England wants to do well, it will take a team effort. Arnor Traustason, Maciel, and Petrović stepped into the starting XI and played a quality 90 minutes.
“That’s on the group,” Traustason said when asked about performing well in both competitions. “We didn’t change a whole lot before this game. But I mean, the players that played that came [into the starting lineup]– me, Maciel, and [Djordje] Petrović–we all stepped up and that’s something a group needs to be do in order to compete in MLS and in the Open Cup. So that’s a group thing. If you have a good squad, that’s something you want to do.”
Traustason in particular stood out. The midfielder had 60 touches along with completing 84 percent of his passes. Traustason said after the match that hopefully this performance will lead to him earning more minutes.
“Yeah, hopefully, this performance does something for me and we will see,” he said. “We have a game next Sunday. So we’ll see.”
While the Revs just entered the tournament, a trophy is within reach. Four more wins and New England will have another trophy to add to their cabinet.
After scoring three goals for the Revolution, Gil highlighted that point when talking about playing in the Open Cup and focusing on the MLS regular season.
“We want to be in all competitions,” he said. “Also this cup, you know, now we have four more games to win a trophy. So, we’re focused also on this competition and also of course on MLS. We’ll try to get a win on Sunday in Atlanta.”
In a season full of disappointment, Wednesday’s win was a much needed boost of serotonin. Revs fans will be hoping that the wins continue to come whether it be in the Open Cup or in league play with Sunday’s match against Atlanta being the first chance for the club to build off the momentum they gained in the victory over Cincy.