How are we supposed to follow up yesterday? Let me explain … no, there are too many, let me summarize.
The New England Revolution won their first Supporter’s Shield in team history, officially winning yesterday due to Sports KC2-1 victory over Seattle. The Shield confirms what many of us already knew but perhaps haven’t talked enough about yet. That they are probably the best Revs team ever and the only question left is not if they are the best Revs team yet, but by how much.
What yesterday meant for this fan base can be found by scrolling through the hashtag #NERevs. A Match in Tweets post wouldn’t be able to do the day justice, as the outpouring of emotions from fans who have followed this team for much longer than I have to celebrate the team’s first major MLS trophy.
Through the Steve Nicol era and the Twellman years, fans watched a consistently good to excellent and talented team that deserved more of that consistency than they finally got. What makes the Shield such a success is that the Revs are so far removed from that era with only the 2014 MVLee run to bolster the CV of a franchise that had been left behind in the Designated Player era.
It took two and a half years for Bruce Arena to do what it does best: build an MLS team to greatness. He did so in the midst of a global pandemic by not only adding legitimate DP-level talent (yes before anyone mentioned it, Brad Friedel signed Carles Gil) but developing talent already on the roster and completing the roster. base of a strong team with MLS veterans. Basically the same thing he did with DC and LA.
So how do you follow up on yesterday? By adding to the greatness already achieved.
Judging by Teal’s quote above, the Revs are still focused on the task at hand, which is getting ready for the playoffs. Yes, the league points record is also within reach and the Revs have two more home games after today and could win it as well. But the end-of-year calendar and the upcoming international break add to the difficulty for the Revs to capitalize on this momentum before the qualifiers.
This is perhaps the most difficult task of all for the Shield winners as the Revs will have up to three weeks off between their last league game against Inter Miami CF on November 7 and their semi-final game. conference final. Bruce Arena has hinted at a closed-door scrum to gain clarity in matches, but in the short term I expect the same team rotation to continue over the next few days before what would likely be the last. Revs’ premier playoff lineup on the day of the Shield celebration on the last day of the season against Miami.
Today, Revs fans in particular can celebrate, and rightly so. Ultimately, I hope the team will have the chance to sit down properly and enjoy this accomplishment leading up to the playoffs. There is still work to be done.
They’re probably already the best and biggest Revolution team in the club’s 26-year history. The only question that remains is how far will we involve this team in a little over a month.
But first, there are still business to be settled in the regular season. Win today ties the Revs to those of Bob Bradley in 2019 LAFC team with 72 points at the top of the league’s all-time regular-season roster. The Lions of City of Orlando and with Shield already in hand, we’ll see if the Revs play with less pressure on them in their last road game of the year.
As always, we chat with our good friend Ben Miller about The land of manes which talks about improving recent OCSC form, returning players from injury and whether or not Orlando may navigate a brutal end-of-year schedule to secure a home game in the first playoff round. As always, be sure to check out my answers to Ben’s questions on their site..
TBM: Unlike the Revs, Orlando is staying at home for a week of double play. What team rotation should we see between games in Montreal and New England and how well suited are the Lions to dealing with a heavily crowded schedule like this?
BM: I think there will be a bit of rotation, but not a ton. For example, I think Sebas Mendez and Nani will both start on Sunday after being midweek substitutes. Fortunately, Orlando begins to regain his health at last. The Lions have seen long stretches of the season with a long and varied injury list, but things are finally starting to take a turn in this area. Alexandre Pato even made his second appearance of the season in an appearance of around 10 minutes in the midweek draw against Montreal. The OCSC certainly has the bodies to come and go, but the question is whether the results will come or not.
TBM: The Revs handed Orlando their fourth straight loss last month, but the Lions bounced back to take 7 of their next 9 points (now 8 of 12 after their midweek draw against Miami). What went wrong during this losing streak and what has been the biggest improvement during their current unbeaten streak?
BM: A myriad of things went wrong during this nasty little streak. Injuries came on quickly, players were suspended for accumulating red and yellow cards, and the team generally seemed to have suddenly forgotten how to defend themselves. The fact that the injury list is much shorter, the discipline has been much better and the defense has improved. The team had a spark with a late road draw against Nashville and a final win against DC and used that momentum to build a small unbeaten streak. The Lions are also starting to look alike again, with a great first-half performance against Montreal that really should have resulted in more than one goal. Getting the starters back on the pitch at the same time seems to help the team get back to chemistry, and not too soon.
TBM: The Eastern Conference playoff race is a mess and I think it’s not unfair to say that no one wants to host a first-round game or even grab that 7th header series. Orlando is currently the 4th seed and the last home game of the first round, but do you think they can keep it?
BM: All that being said, things are not perfect. As I mentioned above, Orlando’s dominance over Montreal in the first half on Wednesday was such that the Lions probably should have scored two or three goals before half-time. Instead, they had only one, started the second half flat, conceded a goal in the 51st minute and had to settle for a 1-1 draw that looked a bit like to a defeat. This failure to finish a team while they were on the ropes is a bit worrying, and if it becomes a trend, watch out. The results have gone in the direction of Orlando and there is still a three-point gap between the Lions in fourth and Atlanta in fifth, but the OCSC probably needs to win three of their last four games to keep that last one. up in the playoffs at home or climb higher. The problem is the timing. Orlando has New England, Columbus, Nashville and Montreal to play. New England is obviously leading the East, Columbus seems to be finding its place, Nashville has been good all year and Montreal has been booming. Compare that to Atlanta which gets the Red Bulls who are respectively 9th, 11th in Miami and 13th and 14th in Toronto and Cincinnati. No MLS game is easy, but the pressure is 100% on Orlando and there is not much room for error. I’d love to say I think the Lions will hang on to it, but years of pain with this team have made me very shy with guns. I don’t think I see it happening, but I wish I was wrong.
Composition / Injuries / Predictions / Etc.
Uri Rosell was injured on Wednesday and Joao Moutinho is listed as questionable, but otherwise everyone should be available.
My guess at a range is this:
Pedro Gallese; Emmanuel Mas, Robin Jansson, Antonio Carlos, Ruan; Sebas Mendez, Junior Urso, Mauricio Pererya, Chris Mueller, Nani; Daryl digue
For a prediction I’ll go with a 2-2 draw