The Supporters' Shield winners scored twice in the final 10 minutes on Sunday to draw Orlando City 2-2, becoming the third team in MLS history to get to 70 points in a season, while the Rapids are in a dogfight for first place in the Western Conference, trailing the Seattle Sounders by three points.
No matter how well or how hard their opponents try, no one seems to be able to keep the New England Revolution quiet for a full 90 minutes.
Orlando City came close on Sunday, shutting them out for 81 minutes, but unfortunately for them, that was not long enough as the Revs showed their determination to earn another point, extending their unbeaten run to nine games.
For nearly 75 minutes, Bruce Arena was bemused by how his side were stifled by the Lions, who controlled the pace with 60% of the possession and getting the better of the second-stringers who were in the starting 11 for New England.
When the big names for the Revs entered the fray, they started to come to life and showed their quality, scoring on two of their three targeted efforts.
The Revolution have played as a team all year long when they needed it the most, with a total of 68 assists in 2021, a new club record surpassing the old mark of 66, which had been in place since 1998.
This group have a ton of depth with 14 different players finding the back of the net this season, but make no mistake, they need their top players in the lineup to be successful, and Arena witnessed that first-hand against Orlando as all of his substitutes, who are normally in the starting lineup, contributed to both of their goals and without them, they likely would have been shut out.
The Rapids are in the postseason for a second consecutive season after an impressive 2-0 win over the weekend against the Portland Timbers.
In the process, Robin Fraser and the Burgundy Boys put themselves back into the mix for the top spot and home-field advantage in the Western Conference as they come into this match with 55 points, putting them even with second-place Sporting Kansas City.
After losing the Rocky Mountain Cup to their biggest rivals Real Salt Lake, Colorado, have regained their focus defensively, conceding only once in their previous two fixtures against two versatile and dynamic sides in Seattle and Portland.
The Rapids are where they are in the table because of their discipline, commitment and a tireless work rate, which has enabled them to collect 15 wins this year, tying a franchise record in the post-shootout era.
Not only did they equal a franchise record for victories, but on Saturday, they picked up their 300th regular-season win, and if this group can collect at least a win and a draw from their final three matches before the playoffs begin, it would set a new club record for points in a season, smashing the old mark of 58, set in 2016.
There may not be a group of players in the league who fight so hard game in and game out for one another quite like the Burgundy Boys do, as they do not have the all-star names like their opponents on Wednesday, but that feeling of being disregarded seems to have served as a rallying cry for this squad throughout the year.
Adam Buksa now leads the Revs in goals with a brace over the weekend, surpassing Gustavo Bou, who set up his first one against Orlando, as the Polish striker is hot on the heels of Ola Kamara for the Golden Boot race, with the DC striker ahead of him by one goal.
Carles Gil created two chances on Sunday as a substitute, giving him 119 on the year, putting him five away from the league record set by Diego Valeri and DeJuan Jones set up the equaliser from Buksa, his fifth assist of the year, putting him in third among MLS defenders.
Jon Bell, who started for the first time since September 22, recorded a team-high in duels won (seven), tackles (four) and blocked shots (three), Maciel played the full 90 minutes, completing 37 of his 39 passes and Andrew Farrell had another solid performance at the back, leading the Revs with eight clearances.
Braian Galvan assisted on both Colorado goals on Saturday, his first multi-assist match in the league, Diego Rubio tallied for the fifth time this season and Dominique Badji has goals in back-to-back games on a night where he earned his 100th cap in the Burgundy colours.
Jack Price is third in the league in assists with 12, three back of Djordje Mihailovic and well back of Gil, who has 18, though he is well ahead of his Colorado teammates with the next highest tally coming from Michael Barrios, who has four helpers so far this year.
New England Revolution possible starting lineup:
Turner; Bye, Kessler, Farrell, Jones; Caicedo, McNamara; Bunbury, Gil, Boateng; Buksa
Colorado Rapids possible starting lineup:
Yarbrough; Abubakar, Wilson, Trusty, Beitashour; Acosta, Shinyashiki, Price, Galvan; Rubio, Badji
We say: New England Revolution 1-1 Colorado Rapids
In a season that has been so close, it seems only fitting that the Revolution would have to wait until the final match of the regular season to claim the record for points.
Arena appears to be approaching their final stretch before the playoffs in a pragmatic way, leaving his dynamic players on the bench, but even if some of those big names end up playing in this one, the Rapids always seem to make life difficult for opposing sides with their tight man-to-man marking while being able to successfully limit the time and space of the top offensive units in the Western Conference this year, and relying on set-pieces to score.
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