The magic of the MLS Cup Playoffs | Recollecting the Revs’ top five unforgettable postseason home wins

11_29_14 Eastern Conference Championship celebration

The New England Revolution’s 2023 campaign all comes down to this.

The Revs welcome the Philadelphia Union to Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, November 8 in a must-win Audi MLS Cup Playoff duel: the second match of Round One’s best-of-three-series.

Jim Curtin’s men hold the advantage having emerged victorious at Subaru Park in Game 1, meaning the Revolution must triumph in the home leg to force a third fixture and keep their MLS Cup hopes alive.

In the buildup to the opening encounter, we looked back at three of our best road wins in Pennsylvania, and ahead of this Wednesday’s crunch clash, we roll back the years to recall five unforgettable playoff successes, including incredible fightbacks, dramatic late winners, and even a breathtaking bicycle kick.

Secure your seat and help to make homefield advantage count as the Revolution host the Union in the must-win Game 2 of the Round One playoff series. Tickets for the home leg at Gillette Stadium are available.

Match Promotion | 11.8.23 | Revolution vs. Philadelphia

Purchase single-game tickets for Match 2 of the 2023 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs first round against Philadelphia Union!


New England Revolution 3-1 MetroStars (3-2 on aggregate)
Eastern Conference Semifinals | October 29, 2005

A famous Foxborough fightback.

When the Revolution welcomed the MetroStars (now of course known as the New York Red Bulls) to Gillette Stadium in the 2005 Eastern Conference Semifinals, they had a deficit to overcome.

Trailing 1-0 from the first leg at Giants Stadium through Amado Guevara’s stunning strike, New England were hoping to make home comforts count with a place in the Conference Final up for grabs. However, on a snowy night in Massachusetts, hopes of progression looked to be melting away when Youri Djorkaeff curled in on the counter attack just before the hour, handing the MetroStars a two-goal aggregate advantage.

Cue the comeback. The Revs rallied and produced a remarkable turnaround, netting three goals inside 24 minutes to mount an unlikely and unforgettable fightback.

Jose Cancela lit a glimmer of hope for the hosts on 68 minutes, drilling home Taylor Twellman’s knock down, before Pat Noonan leveled the score just five minutes later, nodding in a corner to revive the Revolution’s playoff push and wheeling away in celebration.

The comeback would be completed in thrilling fashion. With just seven minutes of normal time to play, substitute Khano Smith powered clear down the left and unleashed an unstoppable effort past Tony Meola and inside the far post to spark incredible scenes and send Steve Nicol’s side through.

Smith’s sensational strike – still fondly remembered to this day – helped the club on its way to a second MLS Cup Final (with the Revs having also achieved the feat in 2002). Clint Dempsey’s fourth-minute effort to overcome the Chicago Fire in the resulting (and controversial) 2005 Conference Final sits aside Smith’s contribution as two of the most memorable goals in New England’s history.


New England Revolution 2-1 Chicago Fire (2-2 on aggregate, 4-2 on penalties)
Eastern Conference Semifinals | October 28, 2006

Fighting Fire with fire …

The 2006 Eastern Conference Semifinals saw the Revolution face a familiar foe in the Chicago Fire with the pair having locked horns in four of the previous six editions of the postseason tournament (2000, 2002, 2003 and 2005), each progressing on two occasions.

In the opening fixture of 2006’s two-legged clash, Chicago had earned a 1-0 win at Toyota Park, courtesy of Justin Mapp’s effort, and once again, the Revs would need to battle back from a two-goal deficit when Nate Jaqua struck in the second leg at Gillette Stadium on 18 minutes.

Twellman halved the aggregate score four minutes before the break, finishing off a neatly-worked team move, and Noonan netted another pivotal playoff goal, smashing in on the rebound to send the game to extra-time.

Without a winner in the additional 30 minutes, a penalty shootout would determine who would advance. Matt Reis earned the perfect start for Nicol’s men, thwarting Thiago da Rosa Corrêa’s opening spot kick, before stepping up himself to arrow into the top corner, after Cancela and Diego Gutiérrez had converted.

Andy Herron and Noonan were also successful from 12 yards, but once again Reis delivered a key contribution, denying Iván Guerrero with a crucial save. His second super stop meant the decisive penalty fell to Twellman, and the legendary forward made no mistake to book another Eastern Conference Final place for New England.


New England Revolution 1-0 Chicago Fire
Eastern Conference Final | November 8, 2007

Soaring into Revolution folklore.

It is exceptionally fitting that New England’s all-time record goalscorer should net the most iconic goal in the club’s history.

A piece of individual brilliance saw two-time MLS Golden Boot winner Twellman conjure a true moment of magic in the 2007 Eastern Conference Championship to book the Revs’ place in a third straight MLS Cup Final.

The forward, who had also scored in the U.S. Open Cup Final triumph over FC Dallas and Conference Semifinal success over the Red Bulls, starred at Gillette Stadium with the game-winning goal as the Revs faced the Chicago Fire once again – and not just any goal: a breathtaking bicycle kick.

The man who scored an astonishing 112 goals for the Revs produced a magnificent show of acrobatics with superb athleticism and quick-thinking, seizing the opportunity when his initial header from Wells Thompson’s cross had bounced high into the air. With his back to goal, the striker instinctively launched himself backwards, timing his leap to perfection as he connected with the falling ball and executed a glorious shot past Fire goalkeeper Matt Pickens.

Needless to say, Twellman was rather pleased with his effort, which astounded and delighted teammates, fans, staff and media alike. It was a strike worthy of winning any game, and appropriately achieved that feat, clinching a third straight Conference title for his side.

Twellman would go on to score in the MLS Cup Final against the Houston Dynamo, though the Revs would ultimately fall at the final hurdle – but his overhead kick against the Fire burns brightly in the memory of all those who were fortunate to have witnessed it. Truly, the kick of dreams.


New England Revolution 2-2 New York Red Bulls (4-3 on aggregate)
Eastern Conference Final | November 29, 2014

Double delight and a dramatic draw …

Midway through the second half in Game 2 of the 2014 Eastern Conference Championship, New England’s hopes of another MLS Cup Final were hanging in the balance. Step forward, Charlie Davies.

On a late November night at Gillette Stadium, the Revolution (featuring right back Andrew Farrell) were locked 3-3 on aggregate against the New York Red Bulls, after the visitors had battled back from a 2-1 first leg deficit to level the contest. The Revs’ playoff adventure had already yielded plenty of entertainment with a thrilling 7-3 aggregate triumph over the Columbus Crew in the previous round (with Davies bagging a brace in Ohio), which had set up this intriguing clash against their Harrison rivals.

In the second leg of this Conference Final encounter, Premier League star Tim Cahill had opened the scoring on the night (teed up by world soccer icon Thierry Henry) before Davies equalized for Jay Heaps’ side, diverting Chris Tierney’s cross into the bottom corner to edge the hosts 3-2 ahead overall. However, the pendulum swung again when Peguy Luyindula squared the tie once again on 57 minutes, pouncing on a loose ball in the box. It was time for a Revs hero.

As the home side piled on the pressure with 20 minutes to go, Tierney continued to cause havoc with teasing deliveries, and once again he provided the pinpoint assist for Davies to plant a superb header past Luis Robles – the seventh goal of an enthralling encounter, sending the Revs into raptures.

To add icing onto the cake, three New Englanders had played a key role in the game-winning goal – Davies hailing from Manchester, N.H., Tierney from Wellesley, Mass., and Scott Caldwell from Braintree, Mass. – and Davies deservedly savored the moment with some smooth moves, dancing the Revs into the MLS Cup Final for the first time since 2007.


New England Revolution 2-1 Montréal Impact
Eastern Conference Play-in Round | November 20, 2020

Critical Impact.

After a mixed regular season showing, the New England Revolution had to earn their right to compete in the 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs.

In a campaign hampered and curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Revs finished in eighth spot in the East and had to progress through a Play-In match to enter Round One of the postseason tournament.

Pitted against ninth-place Montréal Impact on home soil in a one-game knockout contest, the task was simple: win or be eliminated.

The two sides had already met on four occasions through the year with the Revolution boasting a 3-1-0 record and three successive victories heading into this tie.

Cometh the captain, all seemed to be going to plan when 2019 MLS Newcomer of the Year Carles Gil broke the deadlock with a delightful volley from Gustavo Bou’s floated pass before the break, but Romell Quioto hit back with a second-half header for the visitors on the hour.

Both sides pressed for a winner, and the decisive moment arrived deep into stoppage time. With just 23 seconds left on the clock, Bou collected DeJuan Jones’ pass 25 yards out and fired a bullet into the bottom corner to snatch the most dramatic of victories, sparking delirium in Foxborough.

The strike - the latest playoff winning goal in franchise history – marked New England’s first postseason win since 2014, and against the odds, the Revolution would go on to defeat top seed and Supporters’ Shield champions Philadelphia Union and then Orlando City – both on the road – to reach their eighth Conference Final.