Foxborough, MASS– Having romped to the Supporters’ Shield thanks to a record-breaking points tally, the MLS playoffs end early and much more quickly than many would have anticipated for the Revs. In Bruce Arena, they had a wily veteran with all the necessary experience to navigate through the post-season. NYCFC eliminated New England on penalties with Bruce being blamed by some for poor game management. So where did it all go wrong, and what of the season on the whole?
It has often been the case that the Shield winners were unable to replicate this going into the playoffs. The top seed in each conference gets a bye through the first round and this layoff tends to work against them. Colorado was beaten by Portland and NYCFC edged out the Revs! A conversation has to be had about whether this actually works in the team’s favour or not- they should be gaining an advantage but it does the opposite more often than not.
— New York City FC (@NYCFC) December 1, 2021
MLS playoffs end early for the New England Revolution
Team Most Valuable Player
There were a number of star performers for the Revs this season but the MVP conversation doesn’t last long. Diminutive Spaniard Carles Gil is THE MVP for the whole league: even without impressing in the playoffs and facing injuries, he was still the standout star.
The best of the best.#NERevs
— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) December 2, 2021
Matt Turner, Tajon Buchanan and Adam Buksa could all be considered as the MVP for the Revs. That being said, Gil was the metronome in that midfield going into the attack. His playmaking abilities were clear for all to see and he was just a step above everyone else who shared the field with him.
What went well?
It would be easy enough, fresh off of the exit from the playoffs, to be all doom and gloom about this year for the Revs. Putting that to the back of the mind then, it was a historic season for the Revs. The playoffs led to nothing but Bruce orchestrated a sensational season in Foxborough. The success is heavily trodden ground, surpassing the points record of the Red Bulls and LAFC from 2018 and 2019 respectively. There were so many individuals that stood out but on the whole, the group came together and thrived on the majority of occasions.
— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) October 24, 2021
With the MLS goalkeeper of the year, coach of the year, MVP and Buksa pushing Taty Castellanos close for the Golden Boot, it’s easy to see that the side was successful. It all comes back to that Supporters’ Shield, not only the record points tally but also that the duct has been broken. The club had never previously come out on top so this is a major achievement.
Neither Buksa nor Bou was consistently firing throughout the season but they seemed to pick up from where the other left off, not to mention that Tajon and co were there to chip in to. It is hard to put into words but there was a level of cohesion across the field that helped everyone get through the low points. If the backline was having an off night, Matt Turner was there to rescue them. If the team were struggling to find a breakthrough, Gil would come up with a moment of magic. There were so many positives from so many players, it was a true joy to watch all year even though the playoffs did end prematurely.
What went wrong?
One could talk about what went well for hours, but what went wrong? The obvious answer is the playoffs. On social media, a lot of fans and pundits alike were pointing the finger at Bruce, saying that his substitutions and tactics were below par. This shows how cutthroat the sport is, the MLS Coach of the Year has a so-called off night and then any hopes of the MLS Cup are extinguished right there and then.
Bruce Arena on his future in New England: "We'll see."
Ominous end to his postgame press conference after the Revolution was eliminated in the Eastern Conference semifinal.
— Ian Steele (@IanSteeleABC6) December 1, 2021
I think that, from a non-fan perspective, to dwell on this would be an oversight. There wasn’t a whole lot that went wrong in the regular season: the shield was clinched with a record-points tally and apart from Nashville maybe, the Revs got the better of most teams they faced. There was mixed success against NYCFC, winning twice but losing once and, in the grand scheme of things, the biggest game of them all has gone the way of Ronny Deila’s men.
Going forward and the continuity is an integral factor. The playoffs haven’t even concluded yet let alone the post-season being upon us, but at the time of writing, Tajon Buchanan is the only major departure. The Canadian will join Champions League outfit Club Brugge next term as he looks to continue hitting dizzy heights.
— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) December 1, 2021
Elsewhere, Brandon Bye and Gustavo Bou have been amongst those players re-signing with the Revs. It seems that Bruce will continue to manage the side and has a lot of the players along for the ride once again. They finally got over the Shield hump and so will be hungry to do the same for MLS Cup. Bruce may have dominated the playoffs in the past but the club haven’t and so that needs to be the goal.
This could all change though so stay with us here at LWOS for all the latest news…