FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Just minutes before the New England Revolution kicked off against Orlando City SC on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium they learned that their postseason fate had been sealed by a late, game-winning goal from D.C. United against FC Dallas, mathematically ending the Revs’ flickering playoff hopes.
However, despite this unfortunate news the Revs knew they had to quickly put the harsh reality behind them, and they did just that by taking down the Lions, 2-0.
“We had everything to play for within the locker room,” said Jalil Anibaba. “We had everything to prove to ourselves and to the staff, and more importantly our fans.
“We have pride in our craft. We take pride in what we do and that’s the main reason why we’re all here. Regardless of exterior factors we’re going put everything we have out on the field until the season’s done.”
New England took control of their chances throughout the match, but really capitalized after halftime.
Cristian Penilla opened the scoring in the 51st minute, curling a shot into the far right corner of the net from the top of the box. Only four minutes later the Revs doubled their lead as Diego Fagundez finished a left-footed volley from inside the box, and tipped the tone of the game into New England’s favor.
“What I was pleased with is that they kept their concentration up and we were the ones that were dictating the tempo, and it’s not always easy to do that against a team that really wants to kill the game,” said head coach Brad Friedel.
As the Revs kept an attentiveness locked in for 90 minutes, the match played out how they had hoped. After many challenges throughout what the team acknowledges was a tough summer stretch, they were able to keep a clean sheet at home.
While this victory was a positive for the team themselves, the Revs were more so playing with the motivation to give their loyal supporters something to cheer about.
“We wanted to make sure that our homestand still stays on a positive note, and give something to the fans to look forward to next season,” said Kelyn Rowe.
This sentiment of gratitude for Revolution supporters was ubiquitous throughout the locker room, knowing that they stand by the team through both the good times and the bad.
“It was more so for the fans,” said goalkeeper Brad Knighton. “They’ve been tremendous all season. We have two home games left and we wanted to send them off on a very high note, and tonight was the first process in that.”
Before the Revs complete that process with the final home game of the season on October 28 against the Montreal Impact, they will head on the road for a midweek clash against Real Salt Lake on Thursday night.