First versus second was the obvious choice for MLS matches to watch this weekend and it didn’t fail to deliver. FC Cincinnati hosted New England and by Bruce Arena’s own admission, his Revolution players “certainly felt the heat in the second half”. Despite underperforming, the visitors left Ohio with a point in hand.
Revolution Players Struggle at TQL Stadium
Points Shared in Top of the Table Clash
A couple of months ago it was the New England Revolution who led the way in MLS. Now FC Cincinnati are the team to beat, they are six points ahead of Nashville who have played a game more. Ahead of this fixture, Bruce Arena labelled Cinci as “the best team in the conference to date” and it’s not hard to see why.
In the wake of the game, Arena backed this up whilst also pointing out the errors made by his Revolution players. He claimed that it was “a hard-fought game” and that it was against a “very good opponent.”
— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) July 2, 2023
Dominique Badji came to the fore in the absence of Brandon Vazquez, who was busy scoring for the USMNT. Badji netted something of a hat-trick, scoring twice at the correct end whilst also being in the wrong place at the wrong time for an own goal.
Defender Dave Romney was full of praise for the difference maker. “Dom is a great forward. I played with him in Nashville for two years. Really good guy. Very good at stretching the game and is just completely direct. That’s what they tried to do… I think his style of play suits them really well and he had two great finishes for them. Hats off to Badji.”
Poor Performances from a Number of Revolution Players
As was previously mentioned, it was far from a solid performance from the Revolution players. The conditions were tough at TQL Stadium, as was confirmed by Romney. “It was extremely muggy and hot, and everybody was just trying to survive out there. We battled and we fought hard, that’s a positive to take away. I don’t think we were good enough at keeping the ball in the second half.
Arena outlined that those on the field “certainly felt the heat in the second half”. One huge challenge that comes with playing in Major League Soccer is the various climates and conditions that teams encounter. From the scorching heat to driving rain and blizzards, you have to be prepared for anything.
— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) July 2, 2023
There were a number of lapses in judgment where Revolution players in particular made silly mistakes. Romney owned up to his part in this and he did give the ball away needlessly. “Just a bad turnover in the first half that led to one of their chances. Then on the second goal, I just wasn’t good enough on Badji and couldn’t get a block. Just couple plays here and there that I wish I had back, but I don’t know too many guys who played well tonight. I never want to have an off night so it definitely wasn’t good enough for me.”
It would be easy enough to focus on the negatives but at the end of the day, it is a very valuable point. In Arena’s words, Djordje Petrovic “made a couple of big saves” and overall, “It’s good to get the point, I can’t argue that. I guess I’ll leave it at that.” Next up for the Revs is a meeting with the New York Red Bulls, another Eastern Conference rival.
Featured image credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports, taken July 1, 2023.