FOXBOROUGH — The Revolution’s 26th year in MLS has been a record-breaking one, as they clinched a playoff berth 27 games into the season and the Eastern Conference title after 29. Now, with five matches left, another goal remains: capturing the Supporters’ Shield for the first time.
“I think we’ve had a great season,” captain Carles Gil said. “Next we want to win championships. But we have five games to play and we are taking it game by game.”
The Revolution (20-4-5, 65 points) play host to the Chicago Fire Saturday, their first action after a 17-day break. The last time the teams met, Gil converted a dramatic stoppage-time goal as the Revolution took a 3-2 victory, clinching a place in the playoffs a month and a half before the end of the regular season.
Gil commemorated the match-winner by ripping off his shirt and racing to the bench to embrace teammates. He was cautioned for excessive celebration, but at least he took advantage of the chance. When the Revolution were assured of first place in the Eastern Conference earlier this month, they were watching from afar as Nashville was eliminated from contention.
Gil, among the cleanest (two fouls in 23 appearances) and skillful (league-leading 16 assists) players in MLS, said he did not regret receiving the yellow card, his second in two seasons.
“That was a great moment for us and for me especially, to score in the final minute to qualify us for the playoffs,” Gil said.
The Revolution hold an 8-point lead over the Seattle Sounders in the overall standings; their magic number is 10 points to assure them of home-field advantage through the postseason. Only the Sounders (58 points), Sporting Kansas City (52), and Colorado Rapids (51) have a chance to catch the Revolution, who conclude the season Nov. 7, then take another break before their playoff opener in late November.
“Anything we’ve done before this doesn’t mean a thing,” coach Bruce Arena said. “We don’t have control of other people, we have control of ourselves, so that’s all we’re going to do — take it one game at a time.”
The Revolution are working on unbeaten streaks of eight games (6-0-2) at home and six games (5-0-1) overall. They have surpassed team records for wins, points, and goals (57), and with an 11-1-2 home mark are 4 points shy of the team best (12-2-3, 39 points), set in 2017.
“We’ve had success at home but we haven’t typically started out well, so I think one of our objectives is to have a good start,” Arena said. “We respect Chicago, we’ve had two tough games with them, so we know it’s not going to be easy.
“We are working to get our team better for the playoffs. We have five games that we need to take seriously and try and get better and utilize as many players as possible during this 11-day stretch where we play four games, and then finish off the season the right way. And after that we’ll figure out how we’ll get our team ready for the first playoff game.”
The Revolution’s five remaining regular-season dates:
▪ Saturday vs. Chicago (7-16-6, 27 points). The Revolution have faced the Fire twice at Soldier Field, playing to a 2-2 tie in the season opener and winning last month. Frank Klopas, who guided the Fire from 2011-13, recently replaced Raphael Wicky and, so far, the Fire have experienced the opposite of a new-coach bump; they won their last time out under Wicky and lost, 3-1, to Toronto in Klopas’s first game back.
▪ Oct. 20 at D.C. United (12-12-4, 40 points). United is in a three-way tie for fifth place, a point ahead of Atlanta United for the final spot. The Revolution have twice defeated D.C. at home this season, and have not lost there since 2018.
▪ Oct. 24 at Orlando City SC (11-8-9, 42 points). The Revolution took a 2-1 win over OCSC last month as Matt Turner saved a Nani penalty kick in the 75th minute. They eliminated OCSC in last year’s playoffs as Turner saved a Nani penalty kick in the 74th minute.
▪ Oct. 28 vs. Colorado Rapids (14-9-5, 51 points). The Rapids have been a surprise contender in the Western Conference under Robin Fraser, a former US national team defender.
▪ Nov. 7 vs. Inter Miami (9-14-5, 32 points). Miami recovered after a 5-0 loss to the Revolution in July, but will take a five-match losing streak into a visit to Columbus Saturday.