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Bruce Arena gives his thoughts on performance of offseason signings

“I’d say a little bit up and down.”

SOCCER: APR 23 MLS - New England Revolution at DC United Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

New England Revolution head coach and sporting director Bruce Arena brought in three former players that he had coached during his time in MLS.

Sebastian Lletget, was acquired via trade while Jozy Altidore and Omar Gonzales were signed as free agents. Gonzalez was signed to a two-year deal while Altidore was signed to a three-year deal.

So far this season, all three players have been able to get some significant playing time. Lletget leads the way with seven starts, one goal, and one assist. Next is Gonzales who has appeared in six games and has struggled at times to defend. Finally, Altidore still seems to be getting up to speed. He has seven appearances and has played 273 minutes and tallied one goal.

Arena was asked about the offseason signings by WPRO’s Tom Quinlan on Thursday and the head coach gave his thoughts on the three players.

“I’d say a little bit up and down,” Arena said. “And in case of Jozy [Altidore], the starting point in my mind, I’ve set a timetable of June to have him ready. We knew it was going to take some time, so he’s been working pretty hard over the last month or so to get fitter and a little bit sharper. He’s still working to overcome injuries from the past, and he’s getting there.”

Altidore was forced into some starts with injuries to the likes of Gustavo Bou and Adam Buksa missed a game due to accumulating two yellow cards in New England’s home match against the New York Red Bulls.

“Omar [Gonzalez] has had some good games, a couple of mistakes along the way, which is all part of it, but he’s been a good addition to our backline with his experience,” Arena stated.

Both Gonzalez and Altidore were thrust into playing not just MLS games, but Concacaf Champions League games. Their rust showed as Gonzalez particularly looked quite slow against opponents and struggled with his man-marking.

“And Sebastian [Lletget] has been solid, but my expectations of Sebastian are greater. I think he can be a more influential player on our team, and I think he’s going to show that as we continue to move into the season. He’s working real hard and I think there’s a lot of good games ahead for him.”

With the Revolution returning to near 100 percent health with Arena saying that all 27 players on the roster trained on Thursday, fans in New England should expect to see the three signings in their true roles.

Lletget will continue to be a starter and Revolution fans should expect him to improve as he grows more familiar with his teammates. Altidore will also improve once he reaches full fitness but to what level remains to be seen. Gonzalez appears to be primed to return to a bench role with Henry Kessler and Andrew Farrell being the starting center back pairing moving forward.

Arena said that it’s important to have the squad healthy once again and back in training.

Well, that’s a starting point,” he said. “We’ve had games this year where we weren’t able to dress nine reserves, which is permitted, so now that we have a full roster, it’s going to give us more competition in training, guys can push each other. It’s going to make the job for the coaches in some ways easier, in some ways harder, because of the selection issues, but I think it’s a real positive that we have a team that’s now healthy.”

Revolution fans will get to see a fully-healthy match-day squad for the first time on Saturday as New England takes on Inter Miami CF at home.