Barring late-season upheaval, the New England Revolution are seemingly trending toward their first piece of MLS silverware.
That’s at least what the Extratime crew contended on their latest episode, with co-host David Gass claiming New England are “100 percent” going to win their first-ever Supporters’ Shield in 2021.
Co-host Calen Carr struck a similar tune, feeling New England are primed to capitalize on being 14 points clear in the Eastern Conference standings and 10 points ahead in the Shield race – all with nine regular-season games remaining.
“I think they're going to get it,” Carr said. “I've seen enough to feel really confident with that, but I think that doing the double would be the special season and would take them the next step as far as how this group is remembered.”
As Carr noted, the Revolution are enjoying so much success that conversations around their potential are approaching historic proportions. For starters: If they claim 18 points (2 points per game) through Decision Day on November 7, they’d set a new single-season points record, a banner LAFC’s 2019 squad currently holds (72 total).
Co-host Matt Doyle said if New England get there – and he’s certainly not counting them out – then it becomes a question of lifting the Philip J. Anschutz Trophy on Dec. 11. The all-decisive match could feasibly be held at Gillette Stadium, a culminating occasion at which New England have fallen short five times since MLS launched in 1996.
“If they set the single-season points record and then win MLS Cup on top of it, then we talk about them as one of the very best teams in MLS history along with 2017 Toronto FC and 1997 D.C. United and 2011 LA Galaxy,” Doyle said. “And it turns out, two of those teams that I just mentioned were also managed by Bruce Arena.”
Arena, of course, took over New England midway through the 2019 campaign after the club parted ways with Brad Friedel. The five-time MLS Cup champion made clear his intentions to construct a winning team, and he’s done exactly that in his head coach/sporting director role.
Gass hailed how the Revolution have assembled their roster, going far beyond their Designated Player trio of midfielder Carles Gil and forwards Gustavo Bou and Adam Buksa. They have two Concacaf rising stars in goalkeeper Matt Turner and winger Tajon Buchanan, plus have found great success in the MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas and MLS-proven pieces like Matt Polster and Tommy McNamara.
“That's how you win in MLS,” Gass said. “You hit across the board. It's not just on DPs signings, it's not just TAM signings, it's not just American and Canadian players. You have to be able to spread it all around.”
It all leaves New England on the verge of making history, with the Seattle Sounders most likely to threaten their Shield ambitions. Now, it is more seems a case of when the Revolution will lock up the East’s No. 1 seed and earn a vital Round One bye, as well as home-field advantage throughout the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs.
“It's gone under the radar because Seattle kind of sucked all the air out of the room at the start of the season,” Doyle said, “and then it felt like the bigger Revs stories were Turner getting his shot with the US national team and Tajon breaking out and Carles Gil having this MVP season. So the macro story of how good this team has been for so long has barely broken through. But it has to break through now because they are one of the OG MLS teams.
“ … I'm being effusive about the Revs because they deserve it," Doyle continued. "They've done an amazing job this year and they keep playing amazing soccer and they keep beating really good teams like NYCFC and when you do that, you got a chance to win some hardware. And that's not something these fans have had a chance to celebrate very often over the last quarter-century.”
For more Extratime analysis after a jampacked Week 24, check out the entire episode here.