In the midst of a seven-match winless streak, and still stuck on 29 points from 24 matches, the New England Revolution remain firmly in 7th place in the East with just ten games left in the season. While sitting only 4 points below the red playoff line elicits a measure of hope that all is not lost, it isn’t that simple. When the Impact leapfrogged the Revs in the table a few weeks ago, we took solace in the fact that we had two matches in hand on them. However, recent events have served to reduce that hope to a glimmer.
The ascendancy of both DC United and Philadelphia Union over the past month has turned the tables on New England’s playoff chances. The Union’s win over the Revs two weeks ago vaulted them over their rivals and above the red line, where they now sit four points ahead of the Gillette residents. Even a win by New England over the DOOPsters this weekend leaves them trailing Philly by a point.
The Union do face a difficult road ahead, with six of their final eleven matches away from Chester. The road slate includes NYCFC, Crew SC, Sounders FC, and a resurgent DC United. However, the Revs’ have a daunting schedule of their own down the stretch, as we discussed last week. Assuming they beat Philly for the first time this season at a venue in which they haven’t won in three years, can they make up a single point on their rivals? Sure, but they’ll also need either Montreal or DC United to suffer in form for much of the remainder of the season.
Speaking of the Black and Red, they play nine of their last twelve matches at the new Audi Field, where they’ve lost just once in six tries. Although they do play both New York clubs on the road, there’s little reason to think they’ll stumble any time soon. Even worse, they have two matches in hand on the Revs.
New England does have a realistic chance to catch and surpass Montreal over the course of the next two months. They still have a couple matches in hand, and they end their season at Gillette against the Impact. That game could be pivotal to playoff inclusion in the East for these two clubs.
Unfortunately, the sobering reality is this: Even if New England wins out, which is highly unlikely, they’ll still need two other contenders to falter if they intend to make the postseason. That also doesn't seem likely.