ORLANDO, Fla. – Adam Buksa’s late brace earned the New England Revolution another dramatic point in a 2-2 draw with Orlando City SC on Sunday night, but the most significant moment of the weekend arrived well before the Revs even stepped onto the field at Exploria Stadium.
It was on a bus between the airport and team hotel that Revolution players and staff celebrated clinching the first Supporters’ Shield in club history, watching the last seconds of Seattle Sounders FC’s 2-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City on their phones, rejoicing at the final whistle that guaranteed New England the best regular season record in Major League Soccer.
“It was a great feeling,” Buksa said, reflecting after Sunday night’s heroics. “I’ll be honest with you, we were pretty sure that we would get the title this weekend. We weren’t sure if it was going to be either Saturday or Sunday, but we were sure that we would get there and we would win the Shield this weekend.
“It turned out to be a bit easier for us because we managed to win it on Saturday, because Seattle lost. But we play soccer, you’re a sportsman, because you want to win trophies, and that’s the first Supporters’ Shield for the New England Revolution, and I’m very happy to be part of that team that I think fully deserved to win the title, win the Shield.”
“It’s a special moment,” added center back Jon Bell, in his first year with the Revs’ first team. “It’s not something to take for granted, because only one team gets that title. Obviously it’s not the biggest prize, but it’s definitely something that you don’t just take lightly. We’re proud of that achievement, because for us, winning that represents consistency, perseverance, determination, and hard work throughout the whole season, because it’s not just a one and done thing – it’s how you go over the course of the MLS season.”
Revolution players will lift the Supporters’ Shield for the first time on Sunday, November 7, when they’ll host Inter Miami CF on Decision Day at Gillette Stadium (GET TICKETS). The Revs will then begin the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs in the Eastern Conference Semifinals on a date to be determined between November 25-30, and they’ll do so in Foxborough, having secured homefield advantage throughout the postseason thanks to their Shield triumph.
Having gone 11-1-3 at home through 15 games, that benefit is not lost on the Revs.
“It’s big for us, especially having that homefield advantage throughout,” said Bell. “For our team, these next two games really just dictate how we’re going to start the playoffs right. We want to end the regular season on a win, with three points. We’re not even looking at the record – we just want to win each game, so for us, we know when we get the homefield advantage, we’ve just got to protect the house.”
One thing Revolution players made clear while celebrating their Supporters’ Shield triumph – it’s a trophy, but it’s not the trophy. Eyes remain locked on the postseason and an MLS Cup title, which would represent the ultimate prize for a Revolution side that has been so dominant all year.
“It’s not enough, because we’re hungry for more,” said Buksa. “We want to win MLS Cup, and our focus goes on the MLS Cup for now. Obviously we have two more regular season games. We want to end the season in the right way and get ready for the most important part of the season.”