With one regular season game left to play, the New England Revolution have secured second place in the Eastern Conference. While the team knows that they will play in the Conference Semifinals, they will have to wait until this weekend to find out who their opponent will be as Sporting KC, the New York Red Bulls and Columbus Crew are still in contention. Each possibility brings its own host of tantalizing storylines that will surely pique the interest of Revolution fans.
A date with Sporting KC would of course be a rematch from the 2013 playoffs. Last year the Revs grabbed a 2-1 advantage at home, but were undone at Sporting Park. The final aggregate score was 4-3, which denied the Revs from advancing. A chance to avenge last year’s loss to the eventual MLS champions is certainly intriguing.
Revenge is definitely a possibility since the Revs swept Sporting this year. The most gratifying of the three victories came on September 26 when the Revolution broke the hex and collecting three points at Sporting Park for the first time ever. Before the 3-2 win, the Revs were 0-2-2 when traveling to Sporting Park.
While retribution is always sweet, the best playoff soccer might be played against Columbus. The two teams are led by ambitious coaches that like to play attacking soccer and there’s no question that their players buy into the philosophy. There has already been plenty of balanced action between the two teams this year as their three games have produced seven goals.
With both teams having a young and talented core, a playoff series between the Crew and Revolution might serve as an indicator of who will dominate the league in the years to come. The Crew currently have the edge as they went 2-1 against the Revs this year. The most recent outing went to the Revs, however, which could be a sign that the Revs have made the appropriate adjustments.
From a rivalry standpoint, a postseason meeting against the Red Bulls would be ideal. The two MLS originals have had plenty of heated battles since the league’s inception and a 2014 playoff series would only increase the animosity. Furthermore, Red Bull Arena is a doable trip for the Foxboro faithful.
A meeting against the Red Bulls also means a meeting against Thierry Henry. The Frenchmen has been coy about his future with his current club, which makes it all the more important that the Red Bulls win now. Would Henry play on the turf of Gillette Stadium in a do-or-die game? The Revolution, who have already spoiled Dom Kinnear’s final night in Houston, would love to give Henry the same treatment.
Regardless of who they face, the Revolution will be up against a daunting opponent that will offer plenty of provocative talking points.