FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Winger Tajon Buchanan’s game-winning strike to the far post proved to be the difference maker as the New England Revolution secured a 1-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday night at Gillette Stadium.
What the victory truly symbolized, though, was the Revs' ability to consistently grind out results, as these three points propelled New England to a new single-season points record, breaking Los Angeles Football Club’s previous mark of 72 set in 2019, with a massive 73 points - and counting - in 2021.
The mentality this squad has demonstrated consistently throughout this year has been the innate desire to continue to improve, even as they set new records and claimed the first Supporters' Shield in club history.
“It's a great feeling,” said DeJuan Jones. “We worked so hard all year, just taking it one game at a time. Our goal this year was to compete for the top spot in the East.
"Then as the year went on, we were up there for the Supporters’ Shield. But again, we’re just taking it one game at a time. We look up now and we're at 73 [points] with the chance to get 76, so it's incredible. I want to keep it rolling.”
While the Revs did secure the new single-season points record and also matched the most wins in regulation in MLS history with 22, they were extremely proud of the fashion in which they accomplished it.
New England secured an eighth clean sheet of the season, and their first since early September.
“It’s been so long since we had a good one like that,” said goalkeeper Matt Turner. “We’ve been leaking goals so we were starting to take it personally, myself included.
“It was important for us to bear down at home and get a clean sheet. Games are going to look like that in the playoffs where teams sit a little deeper, and we need to be focused and locked in for 90 minutes. We had a really good game tonight.”
Turner had four massive saves to preserve the shutout for the Revs, and head coach Bruce Arena commended him on his shift.
“[The clean sheet] is good and I thought Matt Turner made an incredible save in the first half,” said Arena. “I think a real good one on [Michael] Barrios in the last 10-15 minutes of the game. So, good to see Matt back in good form and we needed a clean sheet, as well. So, that’s really good to see.”
As the playing environment intensifies with playoffs quickly looming in November, this clean sheet was massive for replicating the need to stay tight defensively and capitalize on their chances for the close contests in the postseason.
“I think the games now going forward are going to look a lot like that,” said Matt Polster. “It's a playoff environment. Colorado's playing for a position in the West. Going into [Inter Miami CF] is going to look similar I think and then playoffs will be what tonight was really about – to grind it out.
“We know we can do that. I think we've lacked it a little bit at times, but the mentality to defend at the end was really, really good.”
With one regular season game remaining - New England’s finale on November 7 against Inter Miami CF - and the road to MLS Cup guaranteed to run through Foxborough, and as New England continues their goal to finish the regular season strong, that includes making Gillette Stadium an intimidating place for opponents to play.
“It's really important to get that [shutout] tonight and then focus on that as well against Miami [on November 7],” said Polster. “Showing that we can string a couple clean sheets together going into the playoffs, because it's going to be really close in those games, it's going to be a grind just like it was tonight. So, we need to be really focused defensively so our guys up top can win us the game.”
The Revs will host Inter Miami on November 7 at 3:30 p.m. ET, and directly after the final whistle will lift the club’s first-ever Supporters' Shield.
After that, eyes are locked on their path in the playoffs to MLS Cup.