New England Revolution boss Bruce Arena says his side must iron out their errors if they hope to turn their fortunes around, taking responsibility for their poor start to the new MLS season ahead of their clash with Charlotte FC.
The Foxborough outfit have won just one of their first six games of the new league campaign, leaving them joint-bottom of the Eastern Conference with only four points to their name.
Those early struggles have not yet proven seriously fatal to their postseason hopes, but Arena admits they have failed to live up to expectations so far this term, adding that the buck stops with him.
“We certainly have had some unlucky breaks, but we’ve made some big mistakes at the end of games that have cost us, and to me, that says that we’re not a well-coached team at the moment,” he stated.
“So, that has to get better. For a team to make the mistakes we’ve made at the end of some games, the change, the outcome of the game is inexcusable, and that responsibility is mine.”
Opposite number Miguel Ramirez meanwhile has hailed the expansion outfit’s bright start to life in MLS, with Charlotte having bounced back from three opening losses to record as many victories in their last four games.
“The group that we have is super competitive, they want to win in every training session, in every drill,” he added. “This is something that you transfer to the game. They are really disappointed when they lose.
“They work so well. They are always focused, they pay attention, they are clever guys the understand the game plan and the responsibilities they have in the game. I believe this is the main strength of this group.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
New England – Carles Gil
The midfielder has been one of the brighter sparks of a limp campaign in New England so far, and it has been his attacking nous that has helped them threaten from out wide. No player has nabbed more crosses than his 20 efforts so far this term.
Charlotte – Karol Swiderski
The Poland international has proven an inspired acquisition from PAOK this term and has certainly not shied away from chancing his luck from distance. He has scored twice from outside the box already – only Columbus Crew’s Lucas Zelarayan has nabbed more past the penalty area across the campaign.
KEY OPTA FACTS
Charlotte FC recorded a 3-1 victory over New England in the first meeting between the sides on March 19. Only one expansion team has managed multiple wins over the Revs in the last 20 years: Montreal in 2012.
The Revolution have lost four straight games for the first time since June-July 2017. This is the first time in Bruce Arena’s MLS career that he’s lost four straight games in regulation (lost 4 straight with D.C. United in 1996, but one was a breakaway shootout).
Charlotte FC has won three of its first seven matches, including a 1-0 victory over Atlanta on Sunday. Charlotte is the fifth expansion team in MLS history to collect at least nine points from its first seven matches after Seattle, Portland, Atlanta, and Los Angeles FC.
New England has conceded three goals in three of the four matches during its current losing streak. The Revs had let in three goals in a match just twice in their previous 66 matches, including playoffs, prior to the current run.
Jordy Alcívar’s goal directly from a corner on Sunday was the third time Charlotte has scored from outside the box this season. A league-high 43 percent (3/7) of Charlotte’s goals have come from outside the box.