Navigating a challenging stretch of their 2023 season, the New England Revolution can breathe a sigh of relief following Matchday 34.
The New York Red Bulls' 5-3 victory over D.C. United on Saturday officially clinched the Revs' spot in the Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs with nearly a month to spare. Although their own 2-2 draw at Chicago Fire FC left a bit to be desired, the postseason qualification offers a bright spot amid adversity following the resignation of head coach and sporting director Bruce Arena earlier this month.
"I think for us, clinching a playoff spot tonight feels really good," defender Omar González said postgame. "It’s a weight off our shoulders to finally clinch. Now, we have to think about finishing in the top three, [which would] be fantastic.
"We have to regroup, build off this draw away from home, and go back to where we’ve been really strong and keep making progress."
Interim head coach Clint Peay agreed the focus is now on finishing the season on a high note, with the goal of securing home games at Gillette Stadium come playoff time.
The Revolution are well within striking distance of a top-four seed, currently in sixth place (13W-6L-10D) but tied on points with the three clubs ahead of them who are all fighting for that distinction.
"That’s the main goal, to get in the playoffs and give yourself a chance, but we’re not satisfied," Peay said. "We want to get the highest seed that we can possibly have to secure home-field advantage in the playoffs to the best of our ability. We still have a couple of tough games to go, and that’s going to be our goal moving forward.”
Star midfielder Carles Gil will be central to that charge. The dynamic Spaniard scored another crucial goal, leveling the contest for his side in the 59th minute of Saturday's match to bring his total for the season up to nine, to go along with 13 assists in 27 appearances.
Speaking with the MLS 360 crew after the game, Gil said his focus is squarely on the present as the Revs get set for the dogfight to come on the East table.
"As you said difficult moment, but it’s in the past and we are obviously thinking of what is happening now," described Gil of the team's mental approach. "Obviously not the result that we wanted, but [it's good to have a] point away, and I’ll be ready for the next two games at home."