Bruce Arena can be a man of many words, but sometimes all he needs is one.
One word made up of two letters was able to sum up his feelings when asked if he regretted waiting so long to make his first substitutions.
“No,” said Arena.
In a game that went to a shootout, Arena didn’t make his first substitution until extra time. Maciel replaced Matt Polster who was on a yellow card and Arnor Traustason replaced Tommy McNamara who had a mediocre performance on Tuesday night. The same could be said for Traustason as he was replaced by Teal Bunbury in the 114th minute after failing to make an impact.
There were disappointing performances all over the pitch as Gustavo Bou was a ghost on Tuesday night and the back line struggled defensively at times (Particularly Brandon Bye). With NYCFC dominating at various points in the second half, it seemed like New England could have used an injection of life.
This was evident as Ema Boateng assisted on Tajon Buchanan’s game-tying goal. Fans are left wondering what could have been if a player such as Boateng entered the game sooner.
Still, the Revolution had a record-breaking season that saw them win the Supporters’ Shield. The 2021 MLS Coach of the Year, still views the season as a success.
“I think any sensible, reasonable person would say that. If you think otherwise, I think you need to have your head examined.”
While Arena made so many great decisions to get New England to the top of the league in 2021, his reluctance to make a change seemed to play a role in the Revolution’s demise. While he deserves credit for the amazing work he has done for the Revolution, he also needs to face the music when you are knocked out of the playoffs after one match after being the best team in the league.
Arena and his coaching crew won’t have a lot of time to rest as the 2022 regular season is just a few months away. Will this be the year that New England is finally able to get the MLS Cup monkey off of its back?