Having your season end is heartbreaking to begin with, but having it end on penalty kicks is like dumping pounds of salt on the proverbial wound.
After a historic regular season for the New England Revolution, the club came up short and was knocked out of the playoffs far quicker than fans expected.
While the team will be competing in CONCACAF Champions League and still have a Supporters’ Shield, the loss was a punch in the stomach for players as well as fans.
“I think at the end of the day, it’s disappointing,” Matt Polster said after the loss. “This kind of group, having the season we did, doesn’t always replicate into playoffs. It’s difficult. It’s not the same type of games. We knew that, but it’s just a disappointing result. We had expectations of going the whole way and winning the MLS Cup, and tonight just wasn’t our night.”
With Tajon Buchanan not being able to buy a foul call, NYCFC playing hack-a-Carles Gil, and Matt Turner being forced to play hero in the shootout, saying Tuesday wasn’t the Revs night is an understatement. After all the success they had in the regular season, they just couldn’t pull it together in the playoffs.
Disappointment was the theme of the night as Andrew Farrell echoed Polster’s sentiments when asked about the mood in the locker room.
“I mean, not too much talking,” Farrell said. “We’re all just disappointed. I think it’s been a good year and it sucks to end this way. I think there were times where in the game, we could have been better. We had some good moments. Ema [Boateng] coming in, you know, getting that tying goal and kind of getting that feeling off the crowd and the pressure back on them, but obviously we wish we would have scored another one in extra time and then not to go to PKs, but that’s part of the game I guess. You have to go to PKs and everybody’s got a chance to win it and they took their chance as well. Unfortunately, after such a great season, it’s kind of a little bit of a disappointment.”
Every player handles a loss differently, but Farrell expects the pain of defeat to stay with New England as they head into the offseason and prepare for the 2022 campaign.
“Yeah, I think it’ll be different for different guys,” said the center back. “Everybody’s different. Some guys will watch the game. Some guys won’t watch the game. Some guys will go home. Some guys will stay around. Obviously, you feel the pain. Such a great season to build up. The momentum we had been able to maybe make a run at this kind of like we did last year, and top off what we did this year, but also just remember how to use this as momentum for next season, but the team’s going to be different. Guys are going to move on. Tajon [Buchanan]’s going to move on, so you want to just enjoy the moments because this team is never going to be the same that it was this year. Enjoy the moments with the guys and get together, and then you know everybody’s kind of going home I guess.”
As quickly as the 2021 season flashed before our eyes, now all attention goes to 2022. Still, similar to the players, the pain of this loss won’t be disappearing anytime soon for Revolution fans as they ponder what it will take to see their favorite club win an MLS Cup.