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Bruce Arena’s early New England Revolution success no surprise to Red Bulls’ Chris Armas

Chris Armas played under Bruce Arena for eight years with the US men’s national team

MONTCLAIR, N.J. — Bruce Arena has only been in charge of the New England Revolution for a short time, but it appears his imprint is already being on his team, which has earned back-to-back road results against former club’s he’s coached.

That includes a 3-2 extratime win over the New York Red Bulls in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup at MSU Soccer Park Tuesday night.

Consider Red Bulls coach Chris Armas not surprised.

Armas played under Arena with the US men’s national team for eight years. He knows how he can influence a team.

“I know the messages in the locker room, I how he can motivate, I know how he knows how to build a staff and a team and have a real print on culture and how the people work and show up every day,” Armas said. “But Bruce has a way of managing and getting guys to stand taller than they actually are. So, yeah, I think we can see with the same players, [many] of the same players, he’s getting big results. At L.A., here at our place, it wasn’t an easy game, but they figured out a way.”

Finding his way

Before the start of the season, Cristian Casseres was given the title of Tyler Adams’ heir apparent, but things haven’t quite worked out that way for the young Venezuelan international.

Casseres has split his time between the Red Bulls and Red Bulls II, while Marc Rzatkowski has featured more as the double No. 6 with Sean Davis for much of the MLS season. Casseres has started seven league games, scoring twice.

But Casseres continues to work, continues to push himself and his performance Tuesday night was another example.

I always work to improve day in and day out. That is what the coach wants himself,” Casseres said through a translator. “He wants me to improve. He wants for us to improve on our system. He wants the team to improve and that is what I am working for in order to help the team.”

Casseres scored a sensational goal from distance, but it was bittersweet for the 19-year-old because the Red Bulls lost.

“I try my best every day to get an opportunity, to get better, to help out the team and today we wanted to win. I give my best every game,” Casseres said. “I got the goal, unfortunately it wasn’t enough to get the win so I’m a little frustrated over that.”

No advantage after all

When the Revs were reduced to 10 men after Luis Caicedo’s second bookable offense in second-half stoppage time, logic would dictate the Red Bulls would have a clear advantage for the 30 additional minutes.

But against a New England team that defended with two blocks of four, that was easier said than done for the Red Bulls.

“They’re fighting to get a goal, they’re bunkering in,” Armas said. “There’s little moments, there’s crosses that we just didn’t hit in time, we just hit it over, there’s ones where Tom Barlow almost gets it, Cristian gets a chance, there’s some quick play there, there’s little moments in there. You just have to make a play when it’s not so easy because there’s not a lot of space.”

The match’s scheduling by US Soccer was also a factor. While the Red Bulls played just three days earlier in Philadelphia, the Revs last played on June 2 in LA. So despite playing with one less player, the argument could be made they had the fresher legs.

“I don’t ask too many questions about it, but it’s a shame that we had to play this game on short rest,” Armas said. “I don’t understand exactly the detail of it, broadcasting, where New England can come in completely fresh. It doesn’t make it easier for us.”

“I think tonight was challenging because the Red Bulls had a game Saturday in Philadelphia so they have to make decisions on what’s in the best interests of their team and I think that’s the case with everyone in all Cup competitions,” Arena said. “So tonight we were fortunate, we were a more rested team and that may have been a factor in allowing us to get through the extra 30 minutes with 10 players.”

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