FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – As the wins and points keep piling up for the New England Revolution, the gap atop the standings continues to widen.
Sunday night’s 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union ran the Revolution’s unbeaten run to six games (5-0-1), stretched their lead at the top of the Eastern Conference standings to 10 points, and moved them six points clear at the top of the Supporters’ Shield race. It’s the first time in club history the Revs have reached the 40-point mark before the season’s 20th game, and they’re the only team in MLS currently averaging more than two points per game.
“It’s a great feeling,” said DeJuan Jones. “First time I’ve been up here. When I first got to the Revs, we were usually on the bottom of the leaderboard. So to be on top, it’s a great feeling. We have a target on our backs, though, so we have to make sure we push every single game and start really well, because everyone’s gunning for the top team.”
It was Philadelphia who were gunning for the Revs on Sunday night, and they gave the hosts a fight. Matt Polster’s first MLS goal in more than four years opened the scoring for the Revs before Paxten Aaronson responded to pull the visitors level. But just before halftime Tajon Buchanan was chopped down inside the box and Gustavo Bou buried his own rebound after his penalty was saved, climbing into a tie for the lead in the MLS Golden Boot race with his 11th goal of the season.
From there the Revs relied on defensive resolve and a five-save performance from goalkeeper Matt Turner to see out the victory, their league-best 12th of the season in just their 19th game.
“I think the three points is very important,” said sporting director and head coach Bruce Arena. “I haven’t been here that long, but I do remember last year and 2019 – I don’t think we won too many of these types of games.
“We’re 7-1-1 [at home]. Nine [games played] at home, 10 on the road. So we’ve done well, and we have a lot of wins, which is important. That’s a tiebreaker at some point. Our goals are to make the playoffs, one, and then have home-field advantage, which is two. So, we’re moving in that direction. That’s a positive.”
With 16 points from a possible 18 in the past three weeks, New England have gotten themselves into a rhythm. They’ll look to continue that with another upcoming three-game week, as they’ll visit Toronto FC (Aug. 14) before hosting D.C. United (Aug. 18) and FC Cincinnati (Aug. 21) in the span of eight days.
While the Revs are thrilled with the position they’ve put themselves in heading into the season’s stretch run, they know the hardest work still remains in the coming weeks and months.
“Obviously, this season it’s been a lot of quick turnarounds,” said Turner. “So, when things are going good, it feels really good and games are coming thick and fast, and you’re getting results. But we understand we’re only 19 games in, and the last 15 games is the MLS season, so we’ve got to continue to play well.”