Revs ‘prepared’ for Atlas clash despite Arena absence

The New England Revolution are preparing for their Leagues Cup clash against Atlas without suspended head coach Bruce Arena (Robyn Beck)

New England Revolution assistant coach Richie Williams said Wednesday the team were “ready to go” for their Leagues Cup clash with Atlas despite the abrupt suspension of head coach Bruce Arena.

The club placed former USA coach Arena on leave on Tuesday as Major League Soccer reviews “allegations that he made insensitive and inappropriate remarks.”

Neither MLS nor the Revolution provided more information, and Williams declined to be drawn when he spoke to reporters on Wednesday, a day before the team’s Leagues Cup round of 32 clash with Mexican club Atlas in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

Asked if he’d been “surprised” when Arena was placed on leave, Williams said he had no comment and would “leave it at that.”

Arena, 71, coached the United States at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, guiding them to the quarter-finals in 2002.

He returned for a second stint with the national team, presiding over the majority of their failed bid to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

He is the most successful coach in MLS history with five MLS Cup triumphs, two with DC United and three with Los Angeles Galaxy.

His teams have also won the Supporters’ Shield as the top of the overall standings four times and last year he became the first coach to reach 250 MLS wins, a tally he has taken to 262.

He took the helm at New England in 2019, and the team are currently in second place in MLS’s Eastern Conference as the league breaks for the Leagues Cup tournament between MLS and Liga MX clubs.

Williams, who will be in charge on Thursday, insisted players hadn’t missed a beat in their preparations for Atlas.

“We are all professionals and we do this for a living, players and coaches and everybody in the building,” Williams said. “We just want to approach this like we approach it every day and being good pros.

“We have been doing a lot of the same things we’ve always done and had success with over the years. They will be ready to go and there won’t be a super amount of change.

“We just need to focus on ourselves and concentrate on ourselves. If we do that, everything will take care of itself and we will do well.”



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