FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – With a playoff berth out of the question for the past month, the New England Revolution have assumed a rather disruptive approach to the denouement of its disappointing campaign.
Instead of folding up shop and playing out the string, the Revs have played the spoiler role to perfection. MLS Cup contenders FC Dallas and the Columbus Crew have both dropped points to New England in recent weeks, while the Kansas City Wizards watched as the Revolution ended their playoff hopes with a 1-0 victory at Gillette Stadium last Saturday.
“We haven't really looked at them or their situations,” New England head coach Steve Nicol told MLSsoccer.com earlier this week. “All we've done is look at our own, particularly at home.”
Another Revolution result against the New York Red Bulls on Thursday night could cause significant upheaval in the Eastern Conference playoff race. A New York victory would see the Red Bulls clinch top spot in the East, but a draw or loss would leave the door open for Columbus to retain their crown with a victory over Philadelphia on Sunday.
“We played spoiler [last] weekend against Kansas City and to kind of spoil New York and make them have a little bit of a tougher road going to win MLS Cup would be big time for us,” Revs defender Darrius Barnes said. “Anything we can do to kind of throw a little pebble or rock in the road for them, we’re going to try to do.”
But the Revs are also riding a two-game winning streak. Furthermore, they have not lost to New York in their last 15 meetings, a streak that goes back to 2005.
“It’s not necessarily about sticking it to another team – obviously we’d like to be in their position,” midfielder Pat Phelan said. “It’s more about us playing well and having something to play for. Like I said, it’s a big thing for us. This season’s been a disappointment and to go out with a loss would just kind of cap that off the wrong way. So I think we’re going to go down there and give it our all.”