By Ryan Fleming
When the New England Revolution took the field on Sunday night against the Houston Dynamo, one thing should have been on the players’ mind – winning.
Now that might seem common sense, even trivial. Of course, a team’s objective is to win, get the three points, then train for the upcoming week’s opponent. But for the Revolution, circumstances are a bit different. After becoming mathematically eliminated from the MLS Playoffs after its 2-2 tie to Columbus back on Sept. 25.
But despite the total lack of league meaning of the games, the Revs are maintaining a “must win” mentality, knowing how important it is for the team to close out the disappointing season on a high note.
“It’s very important for us that we can count on our guys,” Revs forward Ilija Stolica said after the game. “It’s important that we finish the season strong, it doesn’t matter that it is over for the playoffs.”
For the youngsters like Kevin Alston, Kenny Mansally, Zach Schilawski and others, the season still counts for something. It is a time to pick up some invaluable playing time, gather some experience, maybe toy around with a thing or two that wouldn’t get a second thought during the beginning or middle of the season.
“We have been having a tough season all year long, but right now we are just trying to get a good finish. We are just trying to finish the season on a high note. It’s going to be the same thing for the last game.”
The Revolution will close out their season at home against the Kansas City Wizards – a Western Conference foe that finds itself in a different position – fighting for a chance at the postseason. With the Wizards not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs the Revs will be up against an opponent that will surely do anything to get the three points.
Away from Gillette Stadium, a place where the Revs hold a decent 6-3-5 record, their dismal 2-2-10 record on the road has been the downfall this season. The Revs might get themselves at level ground, getting three points and ending another team’s hopes at the postseason.
Ryan Fleming is an editor and writer for The Soccer Guys. He can be reached at email@example.com.