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Bruce Arena wins MLS-record 241st game in victory over FC Dallas

Boston Herald logo Boston Herald 3/5/2022 Rich Thompson
Foxboro, MA - March 5: New England Revolution head coach Bruce Arena () yells at his team as the Revolution take on FC Dallas in the Home Opener at Gillette Stadium on March 5, 2022 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald) © Provided by Boston Herald Foxboro, MA - March 5: New England Revolution head coach Bruce Arena () yells at his team as the Revolution take on FC Dallas in the Home Opener at Gillette Stadium on March 5, 2022 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald)

Bruce Arena was presented with the MLS Sigi Schmid Coach of the Year Award at the end of last season.

With the Revolution’s 1-0 victory over FC Dallas in Saturday afternoon’s home opener before 14,554 at Gillette Stadium, Arena put Schmid in the past tense, registering his 241st regular season MLS victory and breaking the record he shared with the legendary Schmid.

“I have the greatest respect for Sigi, he was a gentleman and really dedicated to the game and to his players,” said Arena prior to joining the team for a champagne celebration in the Revs’ clubhouse. “I’ve known Sigi for many years and we’ve had a couple of beers together. It’s an honor to be associated with him and the record is nice. It was nice getting it here at home and it’s nice to get it out of the way. Hopefully we can move forward and get this team better.”

Midfielder Carles Gil, the league’s reigning MVP, scored the lone goal on a penalty kick two minutes into stoppage time at the end of the first half. Keeper Earl Edwards, who made his second start in place of injured Matt Turner, finished with a clean sheet. Edwards made only one save, but he did a good job managing the Revs’ back end.

The Revolution improved to 1-0-1 in the first of five games over 15 days. The Revs get back to work Wednesday night at 8 p.m. when they host Mexico City’s Pumas UNAM in the first of two CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal matches. The Revolution resume MLS play next Saturday against Real Salt Lake at Gillette.

“In a lot of ways FC Dallas is similar (to Pumas) in terms of just tactical players, shifty players all over the field playing quick and looking for combinations,” said striker Jozy Altidore. “Obviously they will be a step up let’s be honest, they have been in season a bit longer than we have so I think tempo-wise, we have to be ready for that.

“We won’t be able to ease our way into the game. I think from the first minute they are going to be on us. That will be a challenge but that is the challenge of the Champions League.”

The Revolution found their footing prior to the fifth minute with tightly-choreographed probes into and around the FC Dallas box. The Revs amped up the pressure in the 18th minute following a corner kick but were unable to break down Dallas’ defensive wall.

Dallas made a deep transition run into the penalty area in the 24th minute but center back Andrew Farrell stoned striker Jader Obrian at the point of attack. Farrell made his club-record 275th appearance.

Things got testy in the 35th minute when Jesus Ferreira poleaxed Gil at midfield but did not draw a foul or yellow card from referee Ted Unkel. Ferreira then got into a shoving match with center back Henry Kessler away from the play.

Gil got taken down with malice by midfielder Paxton Pomjkai in the scoring area that, after a video review, resulted in a penalty kick. Gil foxed Dallas keeper Maarten Paes with a low chip ball inside the near post.

Kessler left the game with a hamstring injury in stoppage time and was replaced by Omar Gonzalez in the second half.

“Omar played in his place in the second half and did a good job,” said Arena. “He (Kessler) has had a hamstring and we thought his rehab and getting him back to play was appropriate over the last month or so. He’s been six weeks dealing with this hamstring and we haven’t gotten it right at this point. We have to wait and see but it certainly looks like he will miss some games in the near future.”

FC Dallas game manager Nicolas Estevez abandoned his containment policy in the middle third of the pitch and made a full-frontal push on the Revs’ zone in the opening stretch of the second half.

The Revs handled the initial onslaught but FC Dallas was persistent with its pressure. Both coaches made double substitutions in the 69th minute. Arena put in Lucas Maciel and Altidore for Sebastian Lletget and Tommy McNamara while Estevez inserted Quignon and Katlego Ntsabeleng for Edwin Cerrillo and Pomykai.

Paes kept it a one-goal game with consecutive close-quarter saves on Gustavo Bou and Gil in the 74th minute.

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