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FOXBOROUGH — The Revolution captured the Supporters’ Shield for the first time in their 26-year history on Saturday, backing into the title a day before visiting Orlando City SC as the Seattle Sounders lost, 2-1, to Sporting Kansas City.

But Bruce Arena was not planning any celebrations.

“I think winning the Supporters’ Shield is great, but I don’t think we need to have a parade over it,” Arena said Friday. “I think we need to be real pleased with that accomplishment and focus on trying to win another three games after the regular season.”

The Revolution (21-4-6, 69 points) wrapped up the Eastern Conference title early this month and have clinched the best regular-season record, assuring home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, leading Seattle by 11 points with three games left. Orlando City (12-8-10, 46 points) is tied with the Philadelphia Union for third place.

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For Arena, winning is nothing new — his D.C. United and Los Angeles Galaxy teams took five MLS Cups and four Supporters’ Shields, signifying the team with the best regular-season record.

The Revolution, though, were the last member of the league’s original 10 teams without an MLS Cup victory or Supporters’ Shield. The Revolution have come close in the MLS Cup, losing five finals (four by one goal, another in penalty kicks). But before this season, the Revolution only mounted a sustained Supporters’ Shield campaign in 2005, when they finished second, but did not lead the overall standings in the final four months.

This season, the Revolution slipped up early, falling behind by two goals to the Chicago Fire in the first 11 minutes of the opener, and had a 2-1-2 record after five games. But they have mostly been winning since. After a 5-0 victory at Inter Miami on July 21, the Revolution overtook the Sounders for the lead in the overall standings with a 9-3-3 record.

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Remarkably, the Revolution will be playing the final three games — on Sunday, and then against the Colorado Rapids Oct. 28 and Miami Nov. 7 — with nothing at stake.

“I don’t care how early you win it, winning it is a great accomplishment for the club,” Arena said. “We’re at a point now where that is a goal. We’re close enough and it’s the right time to say that is another goal we have for the year.”

Arena worked quickly, turning the last-place Revolution into a playoff team, and now a favorite for the championship. When Arena was hired in May 2019, the Revolution were 2-8-2, but they rallied to qualify for the postseason after a three-year drought.

“All we were trying to do was make the program better, there were no goals of winning things,” Arena recalled. “The goal was to get the program better, that’s all.”

Last season, the first time the Revolution rostered three Designated Players (Gustavo Bou, Adam Buksa, and Carles Gil), they advanced to the Eastern Conference final. This year, Bou (15 goals) leads the team in scoring, Buksa (14) is second, and Gil tops the league in assists (17). All three scored in the Revolution’s 3-2 victory at D.C. United Wednesday, a match that showcased the team’s firepower but also its tendency to concede late goals, as United cut the deficit in stoppage time. Arena’s emphasis on attacking has resulted in the Revolution racking up a team-record 62 goals.

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“The guys have been great, we’ve won on days when we weren’t at our best, which is critically important over a 34-game schedule,” Arena said. “And we’ve had some really good days and some disappointing results where we could’ve done better. But over the first 31 games now, we’re certainly pleased.

“I just think the attitude of the group ... It’s never perfect in teams — you see all the time with teams and personalities, there’s always personality issues inside teams. For the most part our guys have put the team first, that’s been the thing that’s impressed me the most.”

The players are keeping the situation in perspective. They will not open postseason play until the Eastern Conference semifinals in late November.

“Everyone wants to celebrate at home in front of our supporters,” defender Andrew Farrell said. “But we just have to take care of business, win out, and keep improving each game. Orlando City is a good side and they need to win.

“Obviously, we want the Supporters’ Shield, but we want more than that. The message is out there, we want to win some championships.”


Frank Dell'Apa can be reached at frankdellapa@gmail.com.