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Bruce Arena believes Christian Mafla is improving

Christian Mafla had his first 90 minute performance against Montreal on Sunday night

MLS: CF Montreal at New England Revolution Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Christian Mafla hasn’t gotten a lot of playing time due to injuries, but now he seems close to finding his full fitness.

Against CF Montreal, Mafla played 90 minutes and had 41 touches, 74 percent pass accuracy, and won six duels. He also received a yellow card before exiting the game.

There was some good and some bad when it comes to Mafla’s performance. He made a key stop at the end of the game and just the fact that he was able to play 90 minutes is good news. The Columbian was also able to get forward and help out on the attack.

But at the end of the game Mafla looked wiped. Even at the beginning of the game it seemed like Montreal was going right at him.

There was also multiple times where Mafla went forward and he left the back line out to dry. He was caught out of position way too many times.

But what did Bruce Arena and Mafla’s teammates had to say? Arena said that Mafla improved compared to his performance against Miami.

He said, Obviously, he got tired at the end. We got caught a little bit with substitutions. We only had one extra defender tonight and when [Jon] Bell went down, it made things a little bit tough and we had to keep him in a little bit longer. But much improved performance than the one we saw in Miami.”

Seeing that Mafla only played 45 minutes against Miami, it isn’t stunning to hear that New England wasn’t expecting him to play as long as he did. Mafla seemed poised for a 70 or 75th minute substitution as the Revs continue to try and boost his fitness.

Gustavo Bou was also asked about Mafla after the game and he believes that the Columbian will get more comfortable as he gets more games under his belt.

Bou said, “Good. I know Mafla hasn’t played a lot, but he’s training in the best possible form to help the team. Today, I saw him a little more loose than the first game [at Inter Miami CF on Wednesday]. He’s going to keep feeling better with more games under his belt. Mafla, like the rest of the team, we all played well tonight and I think that was an objective for us. It was key for us to get the win tonight.”

While Mafla deserves some slack since he got injured, started rehabbing, and then had a setback, but Revolution fans were expecting more out of him. If DeJuan Jones is ready for New England’s next game, it will be interesting to see who Arena starts. Prior to getting injured, Jones had been playing quite well.

Right now Mafla is taking steps in the right direction no matter how big or small they might be.