FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – As Kei Kamara drove to Gillette Stadium on Saturday evening, he thought, “This is playoff weather. It’s time to play.”
Swirling winds and cold rain blanketed the Northeast this weekend but it didn’t keep the fans away from Foxborough – more than 25,000 showed up for Saturday night’s match – and it brought the best out of the New England Revolution, who claimed an absolutely vital 3-1 win over Sporting Kansas City.
It was a win that kept the Revs in the thick of the playoff race in the Eastern Conference as they finished the night two points back of the final postseason berth with two games remaining.
“This time of the season is not a time where you can let your home points slip away,” said Kamara, who opened the scoring in the fourth minute and assisted on Juan Agudelo’s insurance strike in the late stages. “You’ve got to maximize your points at home and we definitely did that tonight.”
Kamara’s early breakthrough gave New England a perfect foothold, but their inability to add to their lead before halftime looked like it might be costly when Sporting KC equalized shortly after the break.
New England remained resolute, however, and continued to press forward, confident that the goals would come in time. And they did, as a Kevin Ellis own goal handed the Revs a deserved lead in the 75th minute before Agudelo’s capper eight minutes later.
“We believed that we were able to create chances and maybe one chance was going to go in. It did, and then the floodgates opened,” said Agudelo, who also set up Kamara’s opener. “I credit my teammates for staying calm, consistent and composed, and we finished it off.”
Staying composed was a Herculean task under the circumstances, particularly as the game entered the final 20 minutes level at 1-1, with the Revolution’s playoff lives potentially in the balance.
“We start thinking, this is the last few games of the season, we know we have to win, and we think, who’s it going to be that’s going to push us into the playoffs?” Agudelo said. “There are players that work their butts off to get into positions to be that guy, and there were good plays out there.”
Saturday night’s victory was imperative, but the reality is that plenty of work remains for the Revs, who still require a bit of help from others to climb back into a playoff spot. They could get that help on Sunday afternoon from Orlando City SC, who host the sixth-place Montreal Impact.
But if this weekend’s performance and result prove anything, it’s that the Revs – 4-1-0 in their last five league games – still very much believe in their playoff potential.
“Yes, other things have to go our way, but we have to take care of what we can control, which is getting our three points at home,” said Kamara. “The first thing everybody does is come in and see what the results are for the other teams, but we look forward to the next games.”
The Revolution’s next game won’t be for two weeks – they’re off next weekend for the international break – when they’ll visit the Chicago Fire, before closing out the regular season at home against Montreal.