Locked into eighth place in the Eastern Conference and eliminated from playoff contention, the Revolution will wrap up their 2018 season Sunday afternoon at home against the Montreal Impact.
New England will look to leave one final mark by eliminating Montreal from contention, too.
The Impact sit in seventh place, 2 points back of Columbus. A win for the Impact and a Columbus loss or tie would send Montreal to the postseason. Anything less than a win for the Impact means the start of the offseason for them.
“Montreal has a lot to play for,” said Revolution coach Brad Friedel. “So it’s only right that we give maximum effort to make sure that the final league standings are a true accurate reading of what they should be.”
Throughout the second half of the season, Friedel repeatedly stated his belief that his team was putting in solid performances despite losing results. But the team’s defensive lapses were clear Oct. 18 in Utah, where the Revolution suffered a humbling loss to Real Salt Lake, 4-1. Friedel, in a rare moment of negativity, remarked at halftime that his team’s performance was “pathetic.”
Sunday’s game is a small shot at redemption not only as a team but also for each player’s future with the club.
“Players are still playing for their positions next year and playing for contracts,” said Friedel. “Performances especially like that first half against Real Salt Lake won’t up their chances. It’s important they have a good week of training and they have to be good on Sunday.”
New England and Montreal have played twice this season. The Revolution won, 4-0, at home in early April before dropping the rematch on the road, 4-2, in early May. That loss was the beginning of the end for New England’s high-press system, which made the Revolution one of the league’s top defensive teams early in the year.
The Impact, meanwhile, are riding one of their best defensive stretches of the season following a 5-0 thrashing by D.C. United Sept. 29. Since then, Montreal has gone 188 minutes without conceding a goal. Keeper Evan Bush has a total of 10 shutouts this year.
Offensively, the Impact are sparked by the ever-dangerous Ignacio Piatti and the creative Alejandro Silva. Piatti has 50 goals over the last three seasons and this year is one away from tying his career high of 17. Silva has been a big factor in Piatti’s scoring uptick, with 11 assists this season, two shy of a franchise record.
“It’s going to be a tough test for us,” said Revolution goalkeeper Brad Knighton. “We know what we have to do. We got a result last time here at home and hopefully we continue that going into Sunday.”