“We won the game. That’s what you do in soccer games.” – Bruce Arena, July 2016

After 33 games, 22 wins and 73 points, nobody in MLS history has “done what you do in soccer games” better than the 2021 New England Revolution.

Thanks to a 1-0 win against the visiting Colorado Rapids, New England now hold the all-time MLS record for points (73 to 72 over 2019 LAFC) and are tied for the most wins in league history after the end of the shootout era in 1999 (22, with Inter Miami on long rest at home on Decision Day remaining, same as the 2018 New York Red Bulls).

Are they the best regular-season team in MLS history? Well, that’s subjective – MLS Cup is still the ultimate goal, after all – but what’s really important is how many wins the Revs have against teams with at least 13 wins and there’s a drive into deep left field by Castellanos and that’ll be a home run.

I’ll leave the essays to the rest of you. All I know is I am grateful to have witnessed greatness from start to almost finish (76 points is still very possible) from this Revs group. They didn’t make the schedule. They just won the games. That’s what you do in soccer games. That’s what New England have done all year, no matter the circumstances.

"You wonder, you look around the room, and you're like, 'Are these the guys? These are the guys that did that?'” Matt Turner said amid a post-game victory lap at Gillette Stadium, where the Revs could yet host every single match on the way to their first-ever MLS Cup.

Yes, these are the guys. This is the team. History makers.

Anyway, on to your Wednesday night review! I’ve got the good, the bad and the playoff implications for every single match…

New England Revolution 1, Colorado Rapids 0

The Good

  • One-goal wins for the Revs, now in 18 of 22 victories on the season. They play well when the margins are tight!
  • Carles Gil set the MLS record for chances created with 126. He will be your MLS MVP, and rightfully so.
  • Tajon Buchanan’s momentum slowed just slightly in recent weeks. Arena said he felt the push and pull of MLS and World Cup qualifying had worn the Canadian international and soon-to-be Club Brugge player down a bit. To get the game-winner had to feel nice. Imagine this team with Gil, Adam Buksa, Gustavo Bou and Buchanan all at top form at the same time…
  • Bruce Arena tied Sigi Schmid for the most regular-season coaching wins in MLS history (240). Don’t forget where this Revs team was when Arena arrived in May 2019. What they’ve accomplished in two years is, well, remarkable.

The Bad

  • Cole Bassett from good shooting positions at the top of the box. Tough night for the homegrown midfielder with the goal in front of him.

The Playoff Implications

For the Revs, none. They have a bye and then home-field advantage for as long as they keep doing what you do in soccer games.

The Rapids’ playoff position didn’t change, either. They will host their first playoff game no matter what and could rise as high as the top seed in the Western Conference or fall as far as fourth.

Atlanta United 2, Inter Miami 1

The Good

  • Luiz Araujo (goal via set piece, game-winning through-ball assist to Josef Martinez) is worth the price of admission. If he is playing, I will watch. The most recent MLS Players Union salary dump had the 25-year-old Brazilian as the fifth highest-paid player in the league. So far he looks the part, and Atlanta need him to in order to make a deep playoff run (or just make the playoffs!).
  • Brad Guzan. Atlanta United don't win this match without his heroics.
  • Josef Martinez started and scored his first goal in nearly a month. You can see what it meant to him and the Five Stripes fans in the building.

The Bad

  • Inter Miami’s finishing. They won the xG battle (2.4 to 1.2) and lost 2-1. Brad Guzan was a big part of that, but Phil Neville also pointed to the lack of a finishing touch: "Your big players need to stand up in big matches. We're really disappointed [with the result.]"

The Playoff Implications

Had Atlanta lost, they would have dropped below the playoff line. As it stands, Gonzalo Pineda’s team is in sixth on 46 points, with a legitimate shot at a home game given their schedule the rest of the way (TOR, @RBNY, @CIN). Of course, the opposite is true. They are just three points above the line, too. Drop points and they could still drop down.

As for Inter Miami, they don’t yet have an “e” for “eliminated” next to their name in the standings, but their playoff hopes are functionally dead. They’d need to win out (NYC, @NE), see their direct competition (four teams) fall completely flat and also make up 18 goals of goal differential for tiebreaker purposes.

So … you’re saying there is a chance? I am saying the opposite. Their season is over.

FC Cincinnati 3, Nashville SC 6

The Good

  • Nashville’s five-goal response to going down 3-1 to put the one-goal-in-four-games slump to bed. Hany Mukhtar was back from suspension, but the load wasn’t all on his back. Randall Leal was an absolute menace (two goals), C.J. Sapong scored twice after six games scoreless. Summer record signing Ake Loba got his first in MLS, too. That Cincy backline is a real confidence booster these days!

The Bad

  • But there is good news, too, somehow! Turns out FC Cincinnati have technically only won two Wooden Spoons in three years!

The Playoff Implications

Thanks to Philly’s draw in Toronto, Nashville held on to second in the East. They’re effectively a win away from clinching a home playoff game. A lot would have to go wrong for Gary Smith’s team to start the postseason on the road.

Columbus Crew 3, Orlando City 2

The Good

  • The Crew on set pieces. Columbus went up 2-0 on a pair of corner kicks, including Miguel Berry’s seventh goal of the season in 663 minutes. No Gyasi Zardes in this one.
  • I think this Lucas Zelarayan AT&T Goal of the Year contender qualifies as a Thunder Bastard!

The Bad

  • The loss snapped Orlando’s five-game unbeaten run: “It’s a really painful result for sure,” Orlando coach Oscar Pareja said. “We look now at home,” he added, “which is a final for us and a game that could put us in a comfortable position.”

The Playoff Implications

Had the Crew lost, they’d have been eliminated from playoff contention. They won what amounted to a must-win, but the odds are still extremely long. How long? Two percent probability of making the playoffs, according to FiveThirtyEight. They’ve got to win at D.C. United and home against the Fire and hope for lots and lots of help.

Orlando are officially flirting with the bubble and, for the time being, no longer in line for a home game in Round One (NYCFC have the wins and goal differential tiebreakers).

D.C. United 1, New York Red Bulls 0

The Good

  • D.C. United are still in the thick of the playoff race, above the line for the time being at least. Had they lost, they’d be in a rough spot mathematically given their direct competition for one of the final spots in the East (ATL, RBNY, MTL) all have a game in hand.
  • Always good to see 18-year-old Kevin Paredes get on the scoresheet. His third of the season held up as the game-winner.

The Bad

  • The Red Bulls' eight-game unbeaten run and four-game road winning streak came to a halt against their rivals.

The Playoff Implications

D.C. United stayed above the playoff line by a single point. The Red Bulls are below the line by a point. Only New York control their own destiny. If they win out, they’re in. D.C. need to pick up as many points as possible and get some help in order to say in postseason position.

NYCFC 1, Chicago Fire FC 0

The Good

  • Taty Castellanos now has 16 goals on the year and is just one off the Golden Boot presented by Audi lead.
  • Gabriel Slonina. It's still very early, but the 17-year-old goalkeeper continues to put in performances that suggest he's the real deal.

The Bad

  • After breaking out for a 6-0 demolition of D.C. at the weekend, NYCFC were back to underperforming their xG in this one. Just a single goal scored from 1.8 xG and 19 shots at goal.

The Playoff Implications

New York City FC are now 4th in the East (47 points) and will host a playoff game if they win out (@MIA, PHI) and Atlanta do not.

Toronto FC 2, Philadelphia Union 2

The Good

  • Is Jozy Altidore back? Jozy Altidore might be back. It is going to be a very interesting offseason in Toronto!

The Bad

  • The Union went up 1-0 in the first minute … then did almost nothing for the next hour, giving Toronto FC the opportunity to come back and score twice. The post-CCL run has been impressive, but they’ve also dropped nine points from winning positions during that time (three draws, including Wednesday night, and a loss).

The Playoff Implications

The Union (3rd, 50 points) are still in good position to host a Round One game and perhaps more depending on results. Next up, FC Cincinnati at home – it goes without saying, a must-win – followed by a visit to NYCFC on Decision Day to lock in playoff seeding.

FC Dallas 1, Real Salt Lake 2

The Good

  • Pablo Mastroeni pulled the right strings in this one. His subs in the second half, particularly inserting Andrew Brody and Justin Meram in the 74th minute, changed the game.
  • Damir Kreilach and Albert Rusnak are supposed to be Real Salt Lake’s best players. They scored the goals that completed the comeback. That’s the way it is supposed to go down.

The Bad

The Playoff Implications

Real Salt Lake are above the line, just barely in seventh, and still control their playoff destiny via the game-in-hand they hold against their Western Conference peers. They’re home against San Jose, home against the Timbers and then in Kansas City on Decision Day. No rest for the weary.

Sporting Kansas City 2, LA Galaxy 0

The Good

  • Johnny Russell. He scored both goals and has now scored in eight straight games, a club record. That’s 14 goals and seven assists on the year for Russell. Think Sporting are happy to have tied him down to a new contract?

John Pulskamp, a 20-year-old former LA Galaxy academy ‘keeper, got his first shutout against hist former club while deputizing for the suspended Tim Melia.

The part where I ask you not to kill the messenger:

The Playoff Implications

Sporting KC are now guaranteed a home playoff game and are in pole position to lock in home-field advantage out West (tied with the Sounders on 58 points, with a game in hand).

The Galaxy are squarely on the bubble. If they win out, they’re in, but Decision Day could be VERY interesting. More on that in a second.

Portland Timbers 2, San Jose Earthquakes 0

The Good

  • Take a bow, Dairon Ibrahimovic … I mean, Dairon Asprilla. That’s one of the most creative goals I’ve ever seen, and it got the Colombian into double digits for the first time in his MLS career. Here are his previous regular-season goal hauls: 0, 2, 1, 2, 1, 1.

The Bad

  • With the loss, San Jose are officially eliminated from playoff contention.

The Playoff Implications

You know what they are for San Jose. They gone. The Timbers are still in fourth via the win, breaking a three-game losing streak, and are away to Real Salt Lake next Wednesday (six-pointer alert!) before a Decision Day clash against Austin FC.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2, Minnesota United 1

The Good

  • Brian White and Vanni Sartini. That’s it. That’s my analysis.

The Bad

  • Just about everything went wrong for the Loons this week. They lost, of course, but every one of their bubble mates won other than the Galaxy. Vancouver beat them (and passed them in the standings in the process). Portland won. Real Salt Lake came back to win. LAFC won at home against the Sounders on Tuesday.

The Playoff Implications

In Sartini we trust! The ‘Caps aren’t comfortable by any means, but they’re two points above the line in fifth and just two points out of a home playoff game and the fourth position. Games at LAFC and against the Sounders will decide their fate. That’s not an easy path, but this team refuses to quit.

Technically, Minnesota still control their own destiny. If they beat Sporting at home this weekend, then win in LA on Decision Day, they’ll get in by jumping the Galaxy. What I’m saying is that that match in Carson could literally be for a playoff spot.