The New England Revolution suddenly find themselves in a position to play for an MLS championship, and they have the right head coach to get the job done.
Bruce Arena has five MLS Cup titles under his belt, two with D.C. United and three with the Los Angeles Galaxy. The Hall of Famer will have a shot to earn his sixth if the Revs can get past the Columbus Crew on Sunday.
Since becoming the Revolution head coach in June of 2019, Arena has made quite the impact on the club. Revs midfielder Scott Caldwell spoke about it on Wednesday.
“In terms of Coach Bruce Arena, ever since day one he’s brought a sense of success from his history – something that we can really rely on and learn from," Caldwell said. "He’s really done a nice job in player management and getting our players playing at the best level possible. That’s what you need from a successful team.
Defender DeJuan Jones echoed Caldwell's praise for Arena and how his experience has positively affected the club.
“Playing for Bruce, it’s great. We know he has that championship pedigree and we’re not happy yet," said Jones. "We’re happy with how far we’ve gone, but we know we have more games to win. We’re not satisfied. We’re looking to push on and win MLS Cup this year."
To accomplish that goal, the Revolution will have to beat a third-seeded Columbus club that finished 12-6-5 on the year. It'll mark another tough matchup for a New England team that simply has found ways to win recently against difficult opponents.
“[Columbus Crew SC] is usually very well prepared tactically and emotionally for a game," Caldwell said. "They like to play and build out of the back, they like their attackers to have some freedom in their movements, and they like to transition quickly – that’s typically what [Columbus Head Coach Caleb Porter] likes to do. I’m sure there’s different nuances and tactics for this particular game, but they’re a good team and it’s something we’re going to prepare all week for.
"It’s something that we’re excited about and really looking forward – our locker room and our team – to the challenge of the upcoming game to get that much closer to MLS Cup so we need to win and we’re going to prepare for it this week.”
Arena spoke earlier in the week about the Revs embracing the underdog role heading into their Eastern Conference Final matchup. Jones believes that while they're technically the underdog, they've proven to be fearless regardless of the opponent.
“I think we’re right where we should be," Jones said. "I mean, going into the game I don’t think any of our players are intimidated or scared. We’re very confident in our team and we think we have a team that can go far, so just continuing to play confident and get wins.”
Sunday's New England Revolution-Columbus Crew SC Eastern Conference Final is set to kick off at 3 p.m. ET on ABC.