Revolution Raises Supporters’ Shield, Wraps Up Best Regular Season in MLS History with Loss to Miami

Photo courtesy: New England Revolution

The New England Revolution (22-5-7; 73 pts.) fell to Inter Miami CF (12-7-5; 41 pts.), 1-0, on MLS Decision Day this Sunday night at Gillette Stadium in the team’s regular season finale. Midfielder Blaise Matuidi netted the game-winning goal for the visitors in the 58th minute, on assists from Rodolfo Pizzaro and Lewis Morgan.

New England finishes the regular season with league records in points (73) and points per game (2.15), while tying the league’s all-time best winning percentage (.750). The Revolution’s five defeats this season are a new club low and only one more than the fewest in MLS history. New England completes the home schedule with a 12-2-3 mark in Foxborough, tying the Revolution’s best home season.

Forward Gustavo Bou led New England’s attack with a game-high eight shots on the night. The Argentinian forward added three key passes to his 90-minute performance and finishes the season ranked second on the team in both goals (15) and assists (9). Adam Buksa finishes the year as New England’s leader scorer with 16 goals on the year.

Midfielder Matt Polster completed 72 of 75 pass attempts, in addition to a team-high 11 possessions gained. Defender DeJuan Jones led New England with 108 touches on the night, in addition to six tackles. Meanwhile, Henry Kessler logged his 50th MLS appearance and Tommy McNamara earned his 175th MLS appearance. Goalkeeper Matt Turner registered three saves and finishes the year with a club-record 17 wins.

After Sunday’s match, the Revolution celebrated the club’s first-ever Supporters’ Shield title by lifting the shield in front of fans at Gillette Stadium. The Revolution will enjoy a bye through Round One of the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs before facing the winner of New York City FC and Atlanta United FC, the fourth and fifth seeds in the Eastern Conference, respectively, in the Eastern Conference Semifinal round. The official date and time of the Revolution’s first playoff game will be announced Sunday night.

POSTGAME NOTES

New England Revolution 1, Inter Miami CF 0

November 7, 2021 – Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, Mass.)

Team Notes:

The New England Revolution fell on Sunday afternoon to Inter Miami CF, 1-0, at Gillette Stadium to finish the regular season with a record of 22-5-7 (73 points).
The Revolution finished the season with a .750 winning percentage, matching the best winning percentage in MLS history, set on three prior occasions (last: LAFC, 2019).
New England’s 22 victories matched the MLS record for wins in a season (not including shootouts). The official MLS record for wins in a season is 24, set in 1998 by the LA Galaxy and Bruce Arena’s D.C. United during the league’s shootout era (1996-99).
The Revolution’s 2.15 points per game is a new MLS record, surpassing the LA Galaxy’s 2.13 points per game in 1998.
The Revs’ finished the season with a 19-point lead atop the Eastern Conference, the league’s largest-ever margin of victory atop an MLS conference (16 – LAFC, 2019 and San Jose, 2015).
New England’s home record of 12-2-3 matches the best home mark in team annals, set in 2017 (12-2-3).
The Revolution’s unbeaten streak is snapped at 10 games, one shy of the team mark. The 10-game streak stands as the Revolution’s third-longest run without a loss.
Bruce Arena’s Starting XI featured one change from New England’s 1-0 win over Colorado on Oct 27, with forward Teal Bunbury starting in place of Adam Buksa.

Individual Notes:

Carles Gil recorded a team-high four key passes to finish the regular season with an MLS-record 130 chances created. Gil added four shots and won eight duels.
Gustavo Bou had a game-high eight shots, one shy of his single-game career high, and finished the match with three key passes to raise his total for the season to 63 – most among MLS forwards this season.
Tommy McNamara played in his 175th MLS match on Sunday, marking the occasion by winning four of his five duels and winning three tackles.
Henry Kessler collected his 50th career MLS appearance in Sunday’s contest, completing 28 of his 29 passes and registering two clearances in a 45-minutes shift.
Andrew Farrell set a new career high with his 33rd start and put in his sixth consecutive 90-minute performance to close the season with 2,970 minutes play, surpassing his previous career high from 2016. Farrell had a team-high three interceptions and added 10 recoveries.
Matt Polster completed a team-high 72 of his 75 passes on the night, including two key passes, and also paced the Revolution with 11 recoveries.
DeJuan Jones had team highs in duels won (11) and tackles (6) and also matched his career high with 108 touches.
Brandon Bye finished the night with two key passes, won five of his six duels along with two tackles, and added six recoveries.

GAME CAPSULE

Referee: Alan Kelly.

Assistant Referees: Adam Wiencowski (AR1); Peter Manikowski (AR2).

Fourth Official: Alyssa Nichols.

Video Assistant Referee: Katja Koroleva.

Attendance: 31,635

Weather: 54 degrees and clear.

Scoring Summary:

MCF – Blaise Matuidi 1 (Rodolfo Pizarro 7, Lewis Morgan 4) 58’

Misconduct Summary:

NE – Henry Kessler (Yellow Card – Bad Foul) 34’

MCF – Brek Shea (Yellow Card – Bad Foul) 49’

MCF – Julián Carranza (Yellow Card – Bad Foul) 63’

MCF – Rodolfo Pizarro (Yellow Card – Unsporting Behavior 64’)

New England Revolution: Matt Turner; DeJuan Jones, Henry Kessler (Jon Bell 45’), Andrew Farrell, Brandon Bye; Matt Polster, Tommy McNamara (Emmanuel Boateng 71’), Tajon Buchanan, Carles Gil ©; Teal Bunbury (Arnór Traustason 60’), Gustavo Bou.

Substitutes Not Used: Brad Knighton, A.J. DeLaGarza, Christian Mafla, Scott Caldwell, Wilfrid Kaptoum, Maciel.

Inter Miami CF: John McCarthy; Nicolás Figal, Leandro González Pirez, Christian Makoun, Brek Shea; Gregore ©, Blaise Matuidi; Lewis Morgan, Indiana Vassilev (Kelvin Leerdam 73’), Rodolfo Pizarro (Jay Chapman 80’); Julián Carranza (Robbie Robinson 80’).

Substitutes Not Used: Drake Callender, Ventura Alvarado, Sami Guediri.

New England Revolution

Team Statistics

Inter Miami CF

16 (3)

Shots (on Target)

7 (4)

4

Blocked Shots

0

3

Saves

3

10

Corner Kicks

2

2

Offsides

0

8

Fouls

12

558 (87.8%)

Passes Attempted (% Completed)

310 (74.8%)

65.2%

Possession

34.8%

POSTGAME QUOTES: New England Revolution 0 vs. Inter Miami CF 1

CLICK HERE for matchday media assets including photos, highlights, and postgame interview footage.

New England Revolution Sporting Director & Head Coach Bruce Arena

On not getting the result today, but still having something to celebrate:

Arena: “I think it was a good game. Give Miami a lot of credit. They played a very disciplined game. We just had to convert our chances. We certainly were positioned to win the game tonight and fell short there.”

On missing Adam Buksa tonight and his injury status:

Arena: “Yeah. It would be nice to have Adam [Buksa] on the field tonight. Injuries are a part of the game. We went through that all year. So, that’s not a reason why we lost the game. Adam will be ready for the playoffs.”

On the tough season with a condensed schedule and how it feels to now lift the Supporters’ Shield:

Arena: “It’s great. I think, especially for this franchise. I’ve been part of this before, with other teams and I’ve never celebrated. We’ve never had a ceremony for Supporters’ Shield. So, this was a little bit new to me, but I think they’ve had a fabulous regular season. It’s historical, right? … It’s the most points in the history of the league. So, a great year. I’m happy for the players. I’m happy for the fans, especially the ones that have been here for 26 years, if there are any. So, you know, that’s a nice moment. We need to now get ourselves prepared for the playoffs.”

On the long break before the first playoff game and how to keep everyone fit:

Arena: “Well, we’re figure that out. We’ll have a plan by the time the guys come back on Tuesday.”

On the fans wanting to win MLS Cup:

Arena: “Well, I don’t know about the fans, but I know our team does. Yeah. That’s the goal, certainly. It’s going to be challenging, like it is every year for every team. And hopefully, we’ll have our team ready. I assume the league will announce the schedule tonight, is my guess. I could be mistaken by that, but we’ll have a better idea obviously later today or tomorrow on the schedule and we have to work to get our team ready. We’re playing the winner of Atlanta and New York City. I saw that. So, you know, we’ll be prepared for that.”

On the difference between Bruce Arena’s former successful teams with many marquee stars and this Revolution team:

Arena: “I don’t know how to answer that. I don’t take anything away from the team we had this year, compared to having, as you said, [David] Beckham and [Robbie] Keane and [Landon] Donovan, as opposed to [Marco] Etcheverry and [Jaime] Moreno. Teams are teams. It’s all about building a team and it’s a different league now than it was in 1996, than it was in 2010, and et cetera, et cetera. So, you move along and we found a way to build a team that could be successful in this league. I don’t worry about the names and all that other stuff. I’m certainly pleased with the group we’ve had and the kind of effort they’ve given us this year.”

On how effective tonight’s match was in preparation for the playoffs:

Arena: “I think there’s similarities to the playoff games. Yeah, playoff games aren’t going to be 5-0. They’re going to be one-goal games. A lesson we learned tonight is that we better finish our chances and that’s always been the playoffs. They’re tight games. They’re intense. I should go over and bring some beers over to the Miami locker room because they gave us a good practice game for the playoffs. I think this is very similar to a playoff game and we fell short. So, that’s a good lesson for us. We can understand why and there’s certainly some things we could’ve done better tonight, but for the most part, we had a good effort tonight. It wasn’t like it was a bad performance. We gave up a goal that was a little unfortunate and we missed some chances. So, what more to say?”

On Emmanuel Boateng’s performance off the bench:

Arena: “He was okay. He had, I think, one good cross, if I remember. He did fine. I think he knows what his role is. We gave him about 20, 25 minutes tonight. He did a good solid job.”

New England Revolution Defender Henry Kessler

On celebrating the Supporters’ Shield:

Kessler: “It was great. It’s kind of a little bittersweet because we didn’t get the result that we wanted. Something Bruce said afterwards is, ‘Don’t let that take away from the season you had, best season in MLS history pointwise, so that shouldn’t be forgotten because of today’s result.’ So, obviously disappointed with today’s result, but kind of need to look back at how the whole season went, which was really well.”

On the defense tonight:

Kessler: “So, yellow card in the 38th minute. Coach [Arena] told me they were taking no chances. So, I came off at halftime, didn’t want to risk missing a playoff game. Then in terms of what they were setting up, they’d leave one or two high, trying to catch us on counters. Played in a fairly low block so our chances were limited, but we still had a couple pretty good ones early. Later in the second half as well, Brandon [Bye] put in some good services, DeJuan [Jones] as well. So, hopefully, we can capitalize on those chances next time.”

On how this match was helpful preparation for the playoffs:

Kessler: “I thought it kind of resembled a playoff game, at least the ones that I’ve played in. Where the away team is conceding some space, forcing us to break them down. They made it difficult, they kind of played two banks of four and kept two high. So, they really packed it in and condensed the space. I think we could potentially see that in the playoffs.”

On how fast they will shift focus to the first playoff game:

Kessler: “Pretty quickly. I think it’s going to be tonight, then tomorrow’s off, and then Tuesday we’ll get back after it. I think by then the focus will already have shifted and we’ll have some time before that game, with the international break and then the [Round One] bye. After tomorrow, I think the focus really shifts.”

On celebrating the Supporters’ Shield:

Kessler: “Yeah, you said it, a culmination of all the hard work we put in this season. So, it was great to get our hands on some silverware. I’ve certainly been anxious to do so since we’ve had it clinched for three games now. Some of the supporters have made me pretty jealous, because it’s the Supporters’ Shield, so they’ve had their fun with it already. So, I’m like, when do we get our turn? Tonight, we did and I think we’ll continue to celebrate it.”

On the atmosphere in the locker room tonight:

Kessler: “We got music going. There’s a little photo section where everyone can get quality lighting, backdrop and everything taking place. Then we have a little reception to follow with friends and family. So, I’m looking forward to that as well.”

New England Revolution Midfielder Tommy McNamara

On celebrating the Supporters’ Shield despite the result:

McNamara: “This is special. There’s not too many moments that guys get to win trophies, so it’s a special moment for the club, for the supporters, to win the Supporters’ Shield for the first time in our history. It’s a disappointing result and game, but we’ve got to look at the overall season and be very happy with what we did. We’ll celebrate it tonight and then tomorrow, we need to shift our mindset and start getting ready for the playoffs.”

On handling the break before the first playoff game:

McNamara: “It’s up to the coaching staff to come up with the plan. However we’re going to train, the games we’re going to play – whether it’s outside competition or amongst ourselves – and then it comes down to us individually. We’ve been through a few breaks already this year with international breaks. I know this one’s a little bit longer, but we’ve experienced it before, So, I think everybody just kind of individually needs to kind of consider what they need to do to be prepared, and then as a group, as a collective, we need to hold each other accountable and understand that we’re getting ready for the playoffs and it’s one and done. So, it’s about holding each other accountable around the training pitch.”

On getting a good test from Miami leading to the playoffs:

McNamara: “This was a game that we experienced maybe a couple of times this year, not too often, but a few times. I said it before in those games, we need to be a little bit more ruthless on the attacking end and on the defensive end. We had chances to score goals and we didn’t take them. We didn’t really give up too many chances, but the one chance or the couple of chances that we gave up they ended up scoring. So, this is what is going to be in the playoffs. It’s going to be tight games. Maybe it’ll be different with New York City in Atlanta for the first round, how they’re going to come out and play, but the games are going to be tight and when you get moments to win the game, you need to take it both offensively and defensively.”

On lifting the Supporters’ Shield:

McNamara: “I’s a big moment for me individually. It’s a big moment for the club, the supporters, and to be together and to celebrate it coming out of the pandemic, it’s really a special time for all of us. So, just going to take it all in and enjoy it. Enjoy what we did after the game. Enjoy the celebration, the postgame celebration, and then move on from there.”

On Adam Buksa not playing today’s game:

McNamara: “Adam [Buksa] is a special player. Of course, he’s done really well for us this season with his goals, with his leading the line for us. Teal [Bunbury] came in, he’s a little bit of a different player, but I think Teal did really well. He worked really hard. He gives us a physical presence as well. It is what it is, but it’s been like that all year – next man up. We’ve been successful with that and I thought tonight, Teal did a good job.”

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