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Arena to watch, learn as Revs visit Impact

(Image: Twitter/@nerevolution)

The New England Revolution hired Bruce Arena as their new coach, but he’s not ready to hit the touchline just yet.

Those duties remain with interim coach Mike Lapper, who’ll try to guide the visiting Revolution to back-to-back wins for first time this season Saturday against the Montreal Impact.

It’s been a whirlwind for the Revolution over the past week. The club parted ways with coach Brad Friedel on May 9, then snapped an 0-3-1 rut with a 3-1 victory over San Jose last Saturday and fired general manager Michael Burns on Monday. On Tuesday, New England hired Arena, a five-time MLS Cup-winning and ex-U.S. men’s national team coach.

Arena, also the club’s new sporting director, spent 14 seasons coaching the New York Red Bulls, D.C. United and the Los Angeles Galaxy. He inherits a Revolution squad that’s 3-8-2, has conceded 31 goals and is amid an 0-7-3 road stretch that dates to early September.

“It’s not going to happen in the next two weeks, but I’m confident that over the next couple of years that we can make very good progress, and make this team much more competitive than it is today,” the 67-year-old Arena told the Revolution’s official website.

According to the Revolution, Arena might not coach his first game until June 2 against the Galaxy in Los Angeles. Lapper will again guide the Revs, who got goals from Juan Agudelo, Cristian Penilla and Carles Gill in topping the Earthquakes.

The task could be more difficult Saturday against Montreal (6-5-2), which won 3-0 at New England on April 24. Shamit Shome scored in the 79th minute and Anthony Jackson-Hamel recorded a late brace over an eight-minute span for the visitors.

The Impact played that match minus star midfielder Ignacio Piatti (three goals in ’19), who has not seen action since March 16 while dealing with knee and calf issues. However, he could return this weekend.

“We know what Nacho brings to the team,” defender Zakaria Diallo told the Impact’s official website. “(His training) went well (Wednesday), so let’s hope it continues that way.”

Montreal has lost two of three after falling 2-1 at FC Cincinnati last weekend. The Impact also will look to avoid a second straight home defeat following a 2-0 setback versus New York City FC on May 4.

REUTERS/Field Level Media

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