The New England Revolution have been missing players all season, but they aren’t using that as an excuse.
On Saturday, the Revs were downed 3-2 by Inter Miami CF, which was their fourth consecutive loss in league play. The visiting team was without Adam Buksa (suspension), Gustavo Bou (leg injury), and Matt Turner (foot injury). Head coach Bruce Arena revealed after the game that Brandon Bye, who was on the bench, “did pick up an injury.”
Buksa and Bou were at the tip of the attack last year. Buksa had 16 goals and four assists in 2021 while Bou had 15 goals and nine assists. Their absences are notable, but Sebastian Lletget believes that the team has performed well enough to grab points.
“I would say, being a newcomer in this team, that the team is built around those guys, and so not having them available kind of throws everything off,” Lletget told media. “You know, even then, I think we put ourselves in some decent positions to win games, even not having them.”
Lletget stated that the team has “depth” and “experience,” noting that Arena has “always valued experienced guys.”
Saturday marked the first time that Arena has lost four consecutive MLS games in regulation play. He lost his first three games with D.C. United in 1996. The fourth, against the Revolution, was tied 1-1 at the end of regulation, which led to a shootout that D.C. ultimately lost. Arena eventually retooled that team and won the MLS Cup.
When reflecting on the start of the 2022 season, Arena recognized that the team has been dealing with a host of absences. He understands that is part of the game though, saying, “We’ve had to play games in the past missing players and we’ll continue to play games in the future with injuries and suspensions and those kinds of things. So, you can’t live on that as an excuse.”
When players are unavailable, it’s important that others step up.
“We’ve had a couple of people that have been called on that haven’t able to get the get the job done in all honesty,” Arena said. “Today, it’s another gift. We gave away some points at the end of the game.”
As pointed out by club staff writer Jeff Lemieux, the Revs have conceded the game-winning goal in the 88th minute or later in three of their four MLS losses. Arena believes that the team needs to be more focused late in games.
“I’ve told our team a number of times to think about the Salt Lake game, the Red Bull game last week where in the closing minutes of games, we just take the point and get out of there and say listen, ‘It wasn’t our best day, but we take point.’ But we have failed to do that,” Arena said.
The Revs will have another opportunity to get things right on Saturday, Apr. 16 when they host Charlotte FC.