New England Revolution fans have desperately been waiting to see what Christian Mafla can do in MLS, it looks like they will finally see him get consistent minutes this season.
So far this season, Mafla has only appeared in two games playing only 72 total minutes. His most recent appearance being against Atlanta United on Saturday.
The left back played less than 20 minutes and completed 86 percent of his passes and had 11 touches.
While the Columbian has a small sample size, midfielder Matt Polster said that Mafla has shown he can play in MLS.
Polster said, “I thought he came into the game in a difficult situation. Obviously, the game isn’t settled a bit. Atlanta is coming for a goal and I thought he defended well. I thought when he was on the ball, he was comfortable. Those are kind of the things that we’ve seen in training. It’s just a build up for him now. Obviously, he’s been hit with a couple of injuries, but when he does train with us and when he’s come into games, he’s shown he can play at this level.”
Now while Revs fans haven’t seen a lot of Mafla, his teammates have. Whenever Revolution players are asked about the left back they mention the energy he brings to the locker room as well as the training field.
Brandon Bye echoed Polster’s comments talking about how great it was to have Mafla back on the field.
Bye said, “[Christian] Mafla’s a great guy. He’s always showing up and giving his 100 percent and ready to go. He’s had a couple injuries early in the season, so that’s held him out, but he’s always come in here and been a voice, been a good character within the locker room, and within the team. I was very happy with his performance, stepping in for DeJuan [Jones] when he [was] pulled out there. He played well. He showed good patience and maturity in the late stages of the game, seeing out the game, obviously, seeing out the win. It’s always good to see him on the field and being strong out there, so that’s good.”
After Saturday’s performance, it seems like Mafla has taken a step in the right direction. The goal forward will be continuing to build his fitness. According to Bruce Arena, Mafla should be playing a full 90 minutes relatively soon.
Arena said, “In terms of fitness, he’s played some games with our second team. He’s been back in training with us for about a month. He’s had a series of injuries on and off since he reported in February. We’ve got him back up to full speed now and he’ll see more minutes on field. With any player, you can’t really judge their fitness until you actually see them play in a full game, so he’s going to have that opportunity in the near future.”
The Head Coach and Sporting Director also told the media that they have yet to make a decision on whether or not Jones will play on Wednesday. He described the injury that the left back suffered against Atlanta as “very minor.”
This could be a great opportunity to get Mafla some extended minutes and boost his fitness. It will be interesting to see what Arena ends up doing on Wednesday night when the Revolution go up against the struggling Inter Miami.