FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – After an extremely scrappy and physical battle, the New England Revolution opened their home slate on Saturday night by grinding out a gritty 1-0 win over D.C. United.
This victory was massive for many reasons, including starting the 2021 campaign with a winning home record, securing three points to begin their two-game home stand, and registering their first clean sheet of the year. However, the biggest reason the win was so important is that it was celebrated with fans for the first time in over a year, saluting their long-awaited return to Gillette Stadium.
“[It felt] really good to have the fans back,” said HenryKessler. “We always look forward to seeing them. Hopefully as we go further and further in the year, we get more and more fans at the stadium as they loosen restrictions. It was really good to have them back and really good to get three points and the clean sheet, as well.”
Even at 12% capacity, socially distant roars and chants of loyal Revolution supporters proudly echoed throughout Gillette Stadium, and head coach Bruce Arena relished the unforgettable crowd.
“I enjoyed the way the stadium was set up,” said Arena. “Great distribution with the fans. They made a lot of noise and it was great to see. I know our players were excited to have people in the stands. We give a lot of credit to our fans. It was a great night for us to get three points.”
No matter whether players are veterans or newcomers, the whole team felt something special taking the field.
“It was amazing,” said new Icelandic winger Arnór Traustason after making his Revolution debut. “When we were walking in, it was amazing really. I was happy to play that game in front of the fans and we were able to get the win for them.”
After the final whistle blew and the Revs secured their triumph over D.C., the reunion for the club and supporters got even sweeter.
While the players would typically salute ‘The Fort’ following the game, fans were scattered throughout the stadium on Saturday night. Instead, the Revs marched the entire perimeter of the field, to signal every single supporter that they were thrilled they are back.
“It felt great, honestly,” Brandon Bye said with a smile. “We had some fans in Chicago and that was cool, but being home being at Gillette [Stadium] and hearing our fans cheer us on, it was a great feeling.”
This was only the beginning of what’s in store for Revolution supporters and the club this year. The Revs will play in front of their home crowd for two straight games, as they return to Gillette Stadium next weekend on Saturday, May 1, when they will host Atlanta United FC.