On Friday, November 20th The New England Revolution will host their first MLS Cup playoff game since 2014. Although it won’t be the same as a normal year, it’s a stepping stone in the right direction. After missing the playoffs three years in a row in 2016, 2017, and 2018, the Revs fell into mediocrity. They burst back onto the scene last year when they fired head coach Brad Friedel and hired Bruce Arena. They were able to climb their way into the playoffs and expectations for them this year were high. The team didn’t finish where they wanted to, and injuries plagued them all season. However, they still find themselves in a playoff spot.
Revs Decision Day Blunders
Going into decision day the Revolution were in 6th place. All they needed to do was draw, win, or hope both Nashville and the Red Bulls dropped points. Unfortunately, everything that could go wrong for the Revs, went wrong. They fell to Phillidelphia 2-0, Nashville beat Orlando and The Red Bulls beat Toronto. They found themselves dropping from 6th to 8th and out of a playoff spot and into the play-in round. Now Montreal stands in their way of getting back to the MLS Cup.
The silver lining of falling into the play-in round is that the Revs will host their first playoff game since 2014. It was then that they beat the New York Red Bulls on a very memorable night to all Revs fans. That game clinched a berth into the MLS Cup finals and got the Revs their 5th Eastern Conference championship. This time around, the Revs won’t be able to rely upon their fans. Gillette Stadium announced they will not be admitting any fans for the remainder of the year the other day.
The Revs have been matched up to play Montreal in the play-in round. A team they are 3-1-0 against, with their only loss coming on the opening day of the season. On paper, this game is in the Revs favor, not only because they have a winning record, but because this time around the Revs will have their captain Carles Gil back in the lineup to face Montreal for just the second time this year. Carles has been absent for every game against Montreal this year except for their game in the MLS is Back Tournament. Carles has only participated in four games since his surgery in July, and his absence has been severely felt. This will also be the first time the Revs have had all three DP’s available against Montreal since The MLS is back tournament.
If the Revs can beat Montreal for the fourth time this year they will either play Toronto FC, or the Philadelphia Union, a team which they have already played five times this year. Due to COVID-19, MLS had to restructure the entire schedule. This resulted in the Revs playing Philadelphia once a month, every month since July. However, the Revs will be hoping to play against Toronto FC. Mainly because in five matches so far, the Revs have failed to beat Philadelphia in each game. In order for the Revs to draw Toronto FC, expansion side Inter Miami CF will have to pull off an upset against another expansion side in Nashville SC, thus making the Revs the higher-seeded team. However, if Nashville wins, the Revs would be forced to play Philadelphia for a sixth time this season.
The Revs have only played Toronto FC twice so far this season, however, they have a much more favorable 0-1-1 record, with the one loss coming on October 7th at Gillette Stadium, when the Revs lost 1-0. A performance that arguably exceeds any that they had against Philadelphia. It’s also important to note that neither Carles Gil nor Gustavo Bou was available for their October 7th match, and Gustavo Bou had to come off the bench in their MLS is back tournament meeting, a game Carles Gil was not available for.
All eyes will be on the Revs to see if they can pull off a successful run to take home the MLS Cup, something fans have been waiting for, for over 25 years.