New England Revolution still holding out hope for playoff spot
Mathematically speaking, the New England Revolution still have a chance at the postseason going into Sunday's regular-season finale. Realistically? It would take a miracle.
Even so, Revolution coach Jay Heaps isn't going to prepare for Game 34 any different than the previous 33. In fact, the fifth-year coach still harbors the hope -- however faint -- his team can figure out a way to beat the odds of overcoming a goal differential of 12 to break a tie for the final playoff spot with Philadelphia.
"We've got to focus on our group, getting ourselves ready for the game," Heaps told the media on Wednesday. "I think, for us, obviously we know what it's going to take to advance and make the playoffs, which is an almost zero-margin [room for error]. But at the same time, we have a lot to play for. We've been on kind of a good uptick, and we've got to finish the season strong."
There are a myriad of ways to narrow the deficit. The scenario Heaps is preaching on the training pitch: getting a 6-0 win over Montreal while praying for a 6-0 Red Bulls win against the Union.
With the Revolution only in control of what happens against the Impact, striker Kei Kamara isn't sugarcoating what he and his teammates will need to do to even entertain the possibility of putting up at least six on the Impact.
"It's going to take everything," Kamara told the media on Wednesday. "If we can still just put on a show out there and definitely get as many goals as we can, because there is nothing else we can play for. No goals against or lose or anything like that, we're going to go for it and it's all about the mentality right now."
History, of course, is not on the Revolution's side. As a charter member of MLS, the club has scored six goals in one game only once in its 21 seasons. But on that occasion -- a 6-1 win over Colorado in 2004 -- the margin of victory was only five.
Whether the players and coaching staff truly believe it isn't over until it's over, one thing is clear: Sunday's match can't come soon enough. And with a crowd of 40,000 expected, Kamara is eager to step onto the Gillette Stadium pitch one more time.
"We're going to be home, last game of the season here in front of the home crowd," Kamara said. "That's what you want. For us, yeah, there's no [room for] mistakes. I can't look past it, that I'm kind of lucky against Montreal, so I can't wait."
Yes, Kamara has been "lucky" against Montreal this season, scoring five times in his last three encounters with the Canadian club. But even if the Designated Player can't turbocharge the attack to the tune of six goals (or more), his head coach wants to see his team put together a performance worthy of the support New England's received all season from those in the stands.
"We've got a huge crowd, a huge moment at home," Heaps said. "It's something that we really owe the fans, because they've stuck by us through ups and downs this season, some frustrating moments. There's going to be a big crowd, and we've got to pay that tribute."