FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The stage was set for a memorable night at Gillette Stadium.
Almost 43,000 fans – a stand-alone, regular-season record for the New England Revolution – packed the stands in anticipation of the hometown side clinching a berth in the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs, which they could’ve done with a win or draw against the Montreal Impact.
Ten minutes into the match that anticipation boiled to a simmer when Jermaine Jones volleyed home a Chris Tierney free kick to – seemingly – give the Revs a 1-0 lead. “The Boys Are Back” briefly blared through the speakers. The musketmen fired off a round. There was a moment of exhilaration.
But the linesman’s flag cut short the celebration. Jones had been – correctly – ruled offside.
“I felt like when we scored the goal that was called back, it felt like this place was going to explode at any moment,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “As a coach, I’m disappointed because I know on any given night, if we can play the way we’re capable of, we would’ve had that explosion tonight.
“But I credit the fans for being here, because I think it’s great … I just wish we could’ve given them a little bit more to go home and celebrate.”
Unfortunately, there was no celebration on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium. Ignacio Piatti’s 55th-minute goal was the difference as the Impact secured their playoff spot with a 1-0 win, dropping the Revs to sixth place in the East as they failed to lock up a postseason berth for a fourth straight game.
Most frustrating for the Revolution was that they knew Montreal would approach the game cautiously, defend resolutely and look to hit on the counter. They prepared for it. They just couldn’t break it down.
“We knew that’s the way they play, especially away. They’re going to sit in and look to break on the counter,” said Scott Caldwell, named the 2015 Revolution Santander Team MVP prior to kickoff. “We’ve got to do a better job of finding that final pass, that slick pass to break them down and put them away.”
But there was no breakthrough for the Revs on Saturday night, leaving their playoff fate to be decided on the final day of the regular season. They’ll visit New York City FC next Sunday (5 p.m. ET) knowing that a win or draw would be enough to clinch a postseason berth.
And despite their recent struggles (0-3-1 in their last four), New England remain confident that they’ll get the job done and extend their season beyond next weekend.
“As poorly as the results have fallen for us in the past few weeks, we’re still together,” said Caldwell. “We’re going to get a result this week and look forward to doing that and getting into the playoffs.”