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Bruce Arena details difficulties of CCL for MLS clubs

“I think, my own personal analysis is MLS teams are not capable of playing in Concacaf competition the beginning of the year.”

MLS: New York Red Bulls at New England Revolution Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Revolution have lost three straight league games in MLS but Bruce Arena isn’t concerned.

“I think we’re going to be ready for the next game,” he said after the 1-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls.

The poor run of play isn’t just contained to MLS. After taking a 3-0 aggregate lead in Concacaf Champions League down to Mexico, New England gave up three goals to Pumas UNAM in the away leg and fell to the Mexican side in penalties. Arena spoke about the difficulties that arise for MLS sides who compete in the competition on Saturday.

“I think, my own personal analysis is MLS teams are not capable of playing in Concacaf competition the beginning of the year,” Arena said. “And you see all the teams, with the exception I guess Seattle continues to do well. We’re not suited to be able to get into these competitions and maintain any kind of quality in the league. You see a team like New York City. They’re not off to a good start as well and it’s difficult for us in the early going.”

While playing such competitive competition early on in the season can be difficult, New England faced even more challenges with its CCL Round of 16 games against Cavaly AS getting canceled due to the Haitian side failing to get travel visa’s in time. New England has also had to deal with extreme weather conditions playing two straight home games in the snow.

“And we in particular had a disastrous start of the season with the logistics and the weather and all of those things,” Arena said. “So, it’s been a mess. I’m hopefully now as we get into the season and the weather now cooperates and we can train on a regular basis outside. We’ll get better and you leave it at that. It’s not an excuse, but we certainly did not step up to what we needed to do to deal with the kind of schedule we had in the early going and all of that stuff. What are you going to do? It’s all part of the exercise.”

Arena added that now the focus shifts to the Revolution’s next match.

“Let’s get ready for the next game,” Arena said would be the message to the team after the loss. “You know, we tell the players ‘next play.’ It’s next game. That’s all it is. This is all part of competing in athletics and if you don’t have intestinal fortitude to deal with it, you don’t belong here.”

With New England headed to Fort Lauderdale to play Inter Miami CF— the worst team in the Eastern Conference — Saturday serves as a great opportunity to correct course and pick up a much-needed victory.