BOSTON (CBS) -- The New England Revolution clinched their spot in the MLS playoffs on Wednesday night. That shouldn't come as any surprise, given the Revs have been the best team in soccer for roughly 98 percent of the regular season.
The Revolution are playoff-bound after a thrilling 3-2 win over the Chicago Fire on Wednesday night, with Carles Gil's extra-time winner providing a dramatic finish to the club's 18th win of 2021. It not only clinched a playoff spot, but also set a new franchise record for victories in a season. And the Revs still have seven games left to add to that win total.
Clinching a playoff berth with roughly two months left in the regular season was certainly exciting, and there was some celebrating in order after such a wild 90-plus minutes. But reaching the club's first goal so early does feel a bit odd for the Revs.
They knew they would be a playoff team given their spot atop the standings, so really, the club doesn't feel like becoming the first team to secure a postseason berth is a very big deal. They have much bigger things to accomplish this year, so the Revolution know their work is far from done.
"It's interesting. It's kind of weird, actually," midfielder Teal Bunbury said after Wednesday's win. "We still have a lot of games left. Our ultimate goal is finishing first in the East, to have homefield advantage. For us, it's like our job isn't done. Our goal is always to make it into the playoffs, so it happening this soon is great. We're excited and we're happy, but we're still thinking about things we could've done better in tonight's game in Chicago."
There were a lot of things that the Revs could have done better Wednesday night. They coughed up a pair of leads to the Fire, thanks in large part to their inability to clear the ball out of their own zone. Some of that had to do with head coach Bruce Arena starting the match with most of New England's firepower -- Gil, Gustavo Bou and Adam Buksa -- on the bench, but the little things should have been a lot better in Chicago.
After Wednesday's win, Arena was sure to point out that his club needs to remain focused in the two months leading up to Decision Day. There is a lot more left to accomplish during the regular season.
"We accomplished one of our objectives tonight; we qualified for the playoffs. So that's official, which is great, but now we want to make sure we get homefield advantage," he said. "I think we're pretty close to that. Then thirdly, we want to be the first seed in the Eastern Conference. So, we're moving forward. Those are the things we want to achieve."
The 59 points that the team has already secured has tied the club's single-season record, but more importantly, it has the Revs atop the Supporters' Shield standings. New England owns a 13-point cushion over Kansas City and a 14-point lead over Seattle in that race. The Revs lead Nashville by 15 points in the Eastern Conference standings.
The ultimate goal is to win an MLS Cup on December 11. Clinching a playoff spot was a good first step, but don't expect the Revs to get complacent with a lot of soccer -- important soccer -- left to be played.
for more features.