FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The circumstances will differ dramatically, but both teams will have plenty to play for when the New England Revolution visits the Montreal Impact on Saturday afternoon.
While the Revs can clinch a postseason berth with a win or draw at Stade Saputo, their opponents will be playing for pride – and perhaps their jobs – having already been eliminated from playoff contention.
According to Revolution captain Jose Goncalves, that’s not something to be underestimated.
“You always need to be careful, because they’re still dangerous, even if they’re not going to make the playoffs,” Goncalves said. “I believe they want to have a victory at home, for the fans and for the club.”
Motivations may vary, but desires don’t change – professional athletes want to win every time they step on the field, regardless of what’s at stake. It’s something Chris Tierney knows from experience.
Tierney and the Revs found themselves in a similar situation three straight years from 2010 to 2012, playing out the string as they were eliminated from contention with games still on the schedule.
Not only does the disappointment serve as motivation, Tierney said, but in some cases it actually gives a team an edge they might not have had throughout the course of the season.
“It makes teams more dangerous,” he said. “They’re going to come out thinking that they don’t have a whole lot to lose, and they’re going to want to put things right.
“I’ve been in that situation before and you carry a certain amount of frustration and anger into a game that really gives you an extra edge. We’re going to have to button up defensively and limit their chances.”
Montreal, despite sitting at the bottom of the MLS standings, presents a stern test regardless of the circumstances; the Revs suffered a 2-0 loss on their last trip to Stade Saputo back in May and had to come from behind to beat the Impact one month ago in Foxborough.
With that recent meeting fresh in their minds, the Revs are well aware of the challenge which awaits them north of the border on Saturday. But with the playoffs in sight, they’ll be ready to match the Impact’s intensity as they go in search of an eighth win in nine matches.
“It’s going to be just like the last game,” said Scott Caldwell. “Even if they’re out of the playoffs, they’re still going to put everything into it. They’ve been performing really well lately, they’ve got a really good group, so it’s going to be a tough one. We just have to go there with three points on our mind.”