The New England Revolution will FINALLY get introduced to Concacaf Champions League play as the club hosts Mexican side Pumas UNAM on Wednesday evening.
The Revs are coming off their first win of the season that also saw Bruce Arena become the winningest coach in MLS history. Carles Gil scored the lone goal of the occasion from the spot and Earl Edwards Jr. recorded the first shutout of his MLS career.
Pumas last game was on March 2 with Santos Laguna recording a 3-2 win over Club Universidad Nacional, A.C. Their match on Sunday was postponed after the tragic events between Queretaro and Atlas.
Bruce Arena was asked about the importance of getting off to a good start in CCL play on Tuesday.
“It’s important,” he said. “If we lose this game tomorrow, the probability of us advancing is going to be very slim. So, we need to go ahead and win the game.”
Veteran center back Omar Gonzalez agreed with the legendary head coach.
“For us, it’s important to get a favorable result because we’re at home and we have the advantage with the cold,” he said. “We have to use those advantages, but we also need to play well. We have to score goals when we have chances in front of goal. It’s important to go to Mexico with a win. It’s tough to play there, I have experience playing there. The good thing is we aren’t playing at noon like Pumas normally does. But they have advantages like their altitude and their field. It’s very important to get this win.”
The Revs might have received an early test with their match against FC Dallas. Jozy Altidore said that the MLS club played a similar style of play to their upcoming opponents.
Actually, in a lot of ways I think FC Dallas is pretty similar in terms of really tactical players, shifty players all over the field,” he said. “Playing quick, looking for combinations. Obviously, they will be a level, a step up, let’s be honest. They’ve been in season a bit longer than we have, so I think tempo wise we will have to be ready for that, we won’t be able to ease our way into the game on Wednesday. I think from the first minute, they’re going to be on us. It’ll be a challenge, but that’s the challenge of Champions League. We’ve talked about it for years, them being in a different place, but it is what it is. We just have to make sure that in the first 15 minutes we’re ready to go because the quality will definitely be a step higher.”
Fans should expect a higher quality of play. Pumas has more games under their belt so far this season and have some quality players. New England needs to be clinical when they get scoring chances and not let opportunities go to waste.
With how important the first leg is, the Revolution surely will be smiling looking at the weather report for Wednesday.
The revs play a team from Mexico Wednesday night and there is a decent shot it will be snowing during the game...welcome to New England! pic.twitter.com/lna5If4pZ7— Terry Eliasen (@TerryWBZ) March 7, 2022
“Yeah, I think with the snow, the circumstances are going to be for both teams,” said Gonzalez when asked about the conditions. “For us, can we have that mentality of just ‘So what? Who cares if this is happening, who cares if it’s snowing, if it’s hailing or whatever.’ We still have to play the game. The other team has to go through it too. So, can we have that strong mentality of it doesn’t matter what’s happening, we’re going to come at you with all we’ve got.”
Arena added that while it’s likely that the conditions will be favorable for the Revs, Pumas is a quality team that can deal with difficult conditions.
“We have to play well for the conditions to be a factor tomorrow,” he stated.
No matter what the weather looks like, fans will want to tune in on Wednesday night.