Bruce Arena says New England Revolution have used a 10-day break between games to work on cutting out the errors that have recently crept into their game.
New England lead the way at the top of the Eastern Conference standings, despite collecting just one point from their last three matches.
The Revs suffered a shock 3-2 loss at home to Toronto FC last time out and have had plenty of time to stew on that defeat to the side sitting bottom of the overall standings.
But Arena has taken full advantage of the brief Gold Cup-enforced break ahead of Saturday’s return to action at Atlanta United.
“We’ve made an awful lot of mistakes over the last month that we have had to correct, and there’s been plenty of time in training,” he said.
“I think overall we’ve done well. There are games where I think maybe we gave some points away – other games maybe where we had a break.I think at the end of all it, we’re where we should be.”
The Revs have a fast start to the campaign to thank for their position at the conference summit, having won seven and drawn two of their first 10 matches prior to their recent blip.
Next opponents Atlanta have struggled for wins all campaign, meanwhile, with the Five Stripes alternating between draws and defeats across their last five matches.
United are 10th in the Eastern Conference and to make matters worse for coach Gabriel Heinze, superstar forward Josef Martinez is currently training alone.
Asked to explain that decision, Heinze said: “It’s my choice. He’ll continue to train on his own. I have my reasons and I’m very clear on those reasons.”
Atlanta are already without George Bello, Miles Robinson, Brad Guzan, Ezequiel Barco, Emerson Hyndman, Franco Ibarra, Jurgen Damm, Alan Franco and Mo Adams this weekend.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Atlanta United – Jackson Conway
Should Martinez miss out on selection, Heinze will choose from the likes of Cubo Torres, Erik Lopez and Conway, the trio having scored just two goals between them this term.
Conway was on target as a substitute against Nashville SC last time out and may get the nod up top this weekend. Should he do so, the pressure will be on the 19-year-old forward to step up.
New England Revolution – Adam Buksa
Buksa ended a four-game scoreless streak with his strike in the defeat to Toronto and now has five goals in 13 MLS appearances this season.
He is the only Revs player to feature in every game since the start of last season and continues to be a focal point of this side under Arena.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Atlanta United have won all four of their home games against New England, including a playoff victory in 2019. Atlanta are the only team the Revs have visited more than once without taking a point in their MLS history.
– Following their 2-2 draw with Nashville on July 8, Atlanta are on the longest winless run in club history, going seven straight games without a victory (D5 L2). This is the third winless run of six or more games in the last year for Atlanta after having never done so in the regular season in the team’s first three seasons.
– The Revs have lost two of their last three matches after dropping just one of their first 10 this season (W7 D2). New England still have not lost consecutive matches in a single regular season under Bruce Arena.
– Anton Walkes has scored two of Atlanta United’s last three goals (in five appearances). Walkes had scored just twice in his first 45 MLS appearances (including playoffs).
– New England have scored an MLS-high 11 first-half goals this season though they have conceded 10 goals before half-time, only four teams allowing more.