For the first time since 2001, the New England Revolution will not be part of the MLS Cup Playoffs as this past weekend’s 2-2 draw with the Columbus Crew officially eliminated the Revs from postseason contention. With that, the Revolution’s streak of eight consecutive playoff appearances has come to an end.
It was originally reported on Saturday night that the point the Revs gained against Columbus kept them mathematically alive, because that’s the information which had been relayed to us by the league earlier in the week. Basically we were given all of the scenarios which could end the Revolution’s playoff hopes, and the only scenario in which the Revs could be eliminated was with a loss to the Crew – hence, we all assumed the draw kept us alive.
However, after a closer look at the numbers, it came to light on Sunday that the Revs may well have been eliminated despite picking up the draw. The league officially confirmed the news this morning.
With four games still remaining in the regular season, the Revs find themselves in the very unfamiliar position of playing out the schedule knowing they’re no longer fighting for a postseason spot. So what’s to play for?
Tops on the list is pride, which has obviously been dented this season. Bottom line is these guys are still professional athletes and they’re going to want to win every single time they step on the field. That will especially be the case in games like this upcoming weekend’s against defending MLS Cup champion Real Salt Lake, which handed the Revs a crushing 5-0 loss on July 2 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Of course, there’s also the notion of building for next season, which will begin much sooner than it feels at the moment. There will be inevitable changes in the offseason and these last four games provide a chance for the players to show what they’ve got as the club looks to build its way back up next year.
I’ll be speaking with head coach Steve Nicol and the players later in the week about their objectives for the rest of the season. It should be interesting, especially considering most of these players have never experienced an MLS season without a trip to the playoffs.