On Sunday, the New England Revolution took the field for the first time under the coaching of MLS and USMNT legend Bruce Arena. Arena and the Revs bested the LA Galaxy 2-1, improving the club’s record to 2-0-2 since they relieved Brad Friedel from his coaching duties.
Things got off to a scary start, as Luis Caicedo vacated the pitch momentarily so the medical staff could look at him after he was elbowed on the top of the head by Zlatan Ibrahimović in the 11th minute. Caicedo would eventually come back on sporting a skull cap.
Both New England and Los Angeles were able to create multiple chances throughout the first half, but the Revs were the only one to end up on the score sheet. In the 45th minute, Carles Gil found Cristian Penilla on the left. The Ecuadorian then hit a right-footed shot that slipped past David Bingham.
The Revolution’s lead grew to two in the 60th minute when Teal Bunbury grabbed his first league goal since August of 2018. Gil played a nice through pass that Bunbury finished, which made amends for his big miss during the game’s opening minutes.
A collusion in the 73rd minute caused Revs fans to hold their breath as Brad Knighton and Andrew Farrell collided. Gil also looked to be in some discomfort. Eventually, all parties regained composure and play on.
The Revs used their first substitution when Juan Fernando Caicedo would come on in the 82nd minute replacing Diego Fagundez.
The home side got a goal back two minutes later when Ibrahimovic pulled off a little magic. A long throw-in ultimately found its way to the Designated Player, who set himself up for a bicycle kick. The shot beat Knighton, which made for a testy ending to the game.
As the final whistle sounded, Bruce Arena secured his 203rd career regular season win and the Revs picked up their first road win this season.
One notable shift in the Arena era was that Penilla was the man taking corner kicks. In previous games, that duty was primarily held by Carles Gil. That, along with better overall teamwork, were small changes that should be watched in the coming weeks.
There were many positives seen in Arena’s Revolution debut that could help turn around the season.