Whatever the case is, the Revs are hoping they have a few more winning hands up their sleeve now that they’re into the Eastern Conference Semifinals this coming Sunday at Orlando City SC (3 pm ET | TV & streaming info). They have a 2-0 win over the No. 1-seeded and Supporters’ Shield-winning Philadelphia Union in Round One to thank for that, one of two upsets Tuesday night in the East.
Turner knows observers beyond New England may have reached conclusions about the East's No. 8 seed, but they’re as driven as ever.
“We know if we want to get a star on top of our badge on our jerseys we have to beat whoever we’re playing against and we know it’ll have to be on the road because we didn’t play particularly well in the regular season," Turner said. "We believe in the quality we have in the locker room. It’s just been about finding our identity and finding our style and I think tonight our quality in the final third showed and Andrew Farrell and Henry Kessler were just rock-solid. I've worked a lot harder for clean sheets, let's just put it that way.”
Highlights: Philadelphia Union 0, New England Revolution 2
New England had a 0W-4L-1D record against Philadelphia in 2020 across all competitions, losing three straight before their latest meeting at Subaru Park. That made head coach Jim Curtin’s group the odds-on favorite, but New England took the game to Philadelphia for large portions.
It started with Adam Buksa heading home a Carles Gil free kick in the 26th minute, then Tajon Buchanan scored a great 1-on-1 goal in the 30th minute after being set up by Gil. Buchanan’s contributions were particularly noteworthy, especially since the 2019 SuperDraft product is playing right back instead of his customary right wing/midfield.
“Last year was his first year professionally and we knew during the regular season, watching him in training that he was a player with a lot of potential,” sporting director/head coach Bruce Arena said of Buchanan. “He knew coming into preseason this year that he was going to get opportunities and he's an athletic kid, he's technically good and he's got a little bit of a chip on his shoulder. He's a very competitive guy and we didn't hesitate a second knowing that he could make that adjustment there because he's played right midfield, which in a lot of ways has similar responsibilities to a right back.”
Otherwise, Gil continued to look like the 2019 MLS Newcomer of the Year after making an earlier-than-expected return from surgery in early August to debride his left Achilles tendon, an operation that could’ve ended his season. He nearly chipped Andre Blake, the 2020 Allstate MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, in the 52nd minute but hit the crossbar.
Each layer leaves Arena dubbing it a “tremendous win” for New England. He felt that Buchanan’s goal broke Philadelphia’s spirits, and then they made the second half ugly to preserve the clean sheet and see the game out.
Now, traveling down to Exploria Stadium to face No. 4 Orlando, they’ll hope for another upset. The latest ended Philadelphia’s 9-0 run at home, and maybe another surprise awaits from the road warriors.
“As a team, we’re probably being overlooked,” Buchanan said. “At the end of the day, we know what we bring to the table. If we just keep playing our game, keep up the energy and keep up the fight, we can go far."