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New England Revolution focused on moving forward and winning an MLS Cup after "difficult time"

Revolution hoping for fresh start after coaching controversy, Arena resignation
Revolution hoping for fresh start after coaching controversy, Arena resignation 01:32

FOXBORO -- The New England Revolution hope that an extremely difficult time in franchise history is now in the past, and everyone can move forward and focus on winning an MLS Cup.

On the pitch, the Revs have done pretty well since head coach and sporting director Bruce Arena was placed on administrative leave back on Aug. 1. But off the pitch, it's been fairly mess.

Arena resigned on Saturday night, and on Tuesday, the club announced another rash of moves to its coaching staff. Interim head coach Richie Williams has been replaced by Revolution II head coach Clint Peay, while assistant coaches Dave van den Bergh and Shalrie Joseph were both dismissed. 

Through all of this, the Revolution brass remained silent. Part of that was because they had to, because of the MLS investigation into Arena over "inappropriate and insensitive" comments the coach had made. On Wednesday, Revs president Brian Bilello and technical director Curt Onalfo (who was promoted when Arena was placed on leave) got to break that silence.

"It has been a difficult few weeks, but I'm glad we're moving forward," Bilello said. 

Answering questions about the ordeal, which has been shrouded in secrecy from the start, is a big part of moving forward. The questions about Arena and what he did remain a mystery as MLS continues its investigation into the legendary coach, but there are some answers that will help clarify the last six weeks in Revolution soccer.

The biggest question revolved around Williams, who according to The Athletic, filed complaints against Arena that were part of the league's investigation. The club canceled training on Tuesday after players and staff met with management, with another report from The Athletic saying many Revs players did not trust Williams.

Bilello said Wednesday that Williams remains with the organization but has been given some time off.

"There has been a lot written about Richie and so, when you're being talked about publicly, that is a difficult situation," explained Bilello.

As for Tuesday's changes on the staff, Onalfo said the moves were necessary to get the team focused and back on track.

"It became clear to me the best path to be successful was to make changes and have a fresh start. That's what we did," said Onalfo.

That fresh start began Wednesday morning when players hit the practice pitch. Now the focus is back on soccer, starting with Saturday's match in Colorado.

"We have an incredible group of players and they are 100 percent focused on Colorado," said Onalfo. "This has been a distraction that no one asked for an we have pushed through it in a positive way. Our goal is to strive, and that's the focus of our staff and of our players. We are focused on going to Colorado and getting three points, end of story."

There is still a lot that needs to come out of this story, but the Revolution are hoping that it has a happy ending in a few months.

"My side of the story is to make a difficult situation into a great one, and we have that opportunity," said Onalfo. "Can we, through all this noise and stuff that none of us asked for, continue to drive forward and make something out of it. That's the message we're telling our players and they're an incredible group of people. Watch out. They're united and it's time to get out there and play, stop talking about all the baloney. It is noise. We are going to focus on winning."

The Revolution currently sit in second place in the Eastern Conference with 48 points with seven matches left in the regular season. 

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