FOXBORO (CBS) — That was not how it was supposed to go for the New England Revolution. After dominating the MLS throughout the regular season, the Revs didn’t win a game in the playoffs, coming up short in the East Semifinals against New York City FC on Tuesday night.
It was a heartbreaking end to an otherwise amazing year for the Revolution, who had the best regular season in MLS history. But their run for an MLS Cup is over before it had a chance to really start, leaving the Revs stunned after Tuesday night’s result.READ MORE: Matt Turner, Sebastian Lletget Named To USMNT Roster For World Cup Qualifying Matches
New England never had control during the match and was sluggish for large stretches, which was to be expected after a 23-day layoff. The Revs had to battle back twice after NYC took leads, which led to some thrilling moments for the 25,000 on hand at Gillette Stadium.
But the comeback magic dried up when things went to penalty kicks, where anything is possible. The Supporters’ Shield champs were playing with some serious fire when they let their season come down to PKs, and in the end, they got burned.
“That is the game that we play,” veteran Andrew Farrell said after the loss. “PKs are really 50/50 and we came out on the other side of the coin flip …It’s part of the game and we love it and we hate it. Anyone has a chance to win.”
“When you go into penalties, it’s a crapshoot and anyone can win. Give NYC credit for winning in a shootout,” said head coach and sporting director Bruce Arena.
“It’s devastating because so many guys had good years,” added Farrell. “So many guys with so many accolades and we weren’t able to finish it. Man, it sucks.”
“Good years” is an understatement. The Revs rolled to 73 points during the regular season to set a new MLS record and bring the Supporters’ Shield to Foxboro for the first time ever. It earned Arena another Coach of the Year award. Carles Gil will likely be named MLS MVP soon for his incredible season, which will look nice next to his Comeback Player of the Year award. And no one will forget the unbelievable season that Goalkeeper of the Year Matt Turner had in net for New England.
But without an MLS Cup — heck, without a postseason win — it will all feel a little bit empty.READ MORE: 16-Year-Old Noel Buck Embracing Every Challenge As He Looks To Make His Mark With Revolution
“We definitely appreciate the year. What we did was great,” said Farrell. “But you’re always measured in the playoffs.”
“You want to remember the good parts, but it’s tough to bring them up and think about them right now,” said Matt Polster. “But give it a couple of days and the boys will be happy with what they achieved and bring it into next season.”
Polster is confident that the sting of Tuesday night will turn into truckloads of motivation for next season, and that this club has the mentality to bounce back.
There will be changes — highlighted by Tajon Buchanan’s transfer to Club Brugge — and chances are New England won’t be setting a new points record in 2022. But Arena and his group will be hard at work this offseason to put the club in the best position to do what they couldn’t do this year: Win an MLS Cup.
“We don’t have the best roster in the league. It has to get better, for sure. But if you look at the year as a whole, it was a good year,” he said. “We wanted to win the MLS Cup, but these things happen when you get into single-elimination in the playoffs.”
All the records that the Revs set and all the accolades that individual players earned don’t mean much at the moment. But they will in the near future.
And if you don’t think 2021 was a successful year for New England’s soccer club, Arena has some advice for you.MORE NEWS: Arsenal Reportedly Make 'Strong Bid' For Revolution Goalkeeper Matt Turner
“I think any sensible, reasonable person would say that. If you say otherwise, I think you’d need to have your head examined,” said Arena.