Bruce Arena is proud of the way New England Revolution have put together another winning run and has called for more of the same when Nashville SC visit Gillette Stadium.
The Revs scored two goals in the final six minutes to snatch a 3-2 win at New York Red Bulls last time out as they made it four wins in a row.
Arena’s side won five games on the spin earlier this season and lead the way in the Supporters’ Shield standings, sitting four points ahead of Seattle Sounders.
While acknowledging that there is still some more to come from his side, Arena is particularly pleased with the spirit on show against the Red Bulls to claim all three points.
“We’re leaning towards being a good team,” he said. “That’s what good teams do. Not every day is perfect. Not every game is perfect. In fact, every game is different.
“I told the team at the end of the game; I think that’s our fourth win in a row – three on the road and one at home – and that’s our best win.
“Everyone would think the 5-0 win against Inter Miami was our best win, but this was our best win because it showed character, determination, skill, and a real fighting mentality.
“I’m proud of the guys because they’re going to be in a lot of difficult games as we enter the second half of the season, and you’ve got to have that kind of attitude.”
Nashville played out a 1-1 draw with an improved Toronto FC side at the weekend and are now unbeaten in eight games, alternating between a victory and a draw in that run.
However, they have not won a match away from home in the 2021 campaign.
That meeting with Toronto was Nashville’s first match on Canadian soil and head coach Gary Smith was happy to come away with a share of the spoils.
“I’m so pleased with the way that the guys have been able to go about their work. We added a very valuable point to the standings,” he said.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
New England Revolution – Carles GilAfter recently going four games without an assist, Gil has made up for lost time by setting up four goals in his last three appearances. Brandon Bye and Adam Buksa profited from Gil’s vision in the comeback win against the Red Bulls and the Spaniard remains undoubtedly the division’s biggest creative force.
Nashville SC – Dave Romney
The games are coming thick and fast for Nashville – and indeed for opponents New England – so Smith will have to make full use of his squad with six games to play in August. One certainty on the team-sheet is the name of Romney, who has played every single minute for Nashville in their 18-month MLS career. He is a solid presence at the back and even chipped in with an assist against Toronto.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Nashville are unbeaten in three all-time meetings with New England (W1 D2), including a 2-0 home victory on May 8. Nashville have held the Revs to just one goal over those three matches.
– After winning their last four matches, the Revs are four points clear in the Supporters’ Shield race. Their 36 points at the midway mark of the season are the most New England have ever had after 17 games, one more than the 35 they had at this stage in 2005.
– Nashville have lost just one of their first 16 matches this season (W6 D9), including going unbeaten in their last eight (W4 D4). Nashville are the fifth team in MLS history to have just one defeat at this stage of a season, joining Los Angeles FC and New York City FC in 2019, Portland Timbers in 2013 and D.C. United in 2006.
– Gil recorded his 15th assist of the season in New England’s 3-2 win over the Red Bulls on Saturday. The only player with more assists after his team’s first 17 games of an MLS season was Carlos Valderrama (17) for Tampa Bay in 2000.
– C.J. Sapong, who scored one of the two goals in Nashville’s win over New England in May, has scored seven times against the Revs in his career, tied for the most he has scored against any MLS opponent (also seven v Columbus Crew, D.C. United and the Red Bulls).