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New England Revolution Discuss 2023 MLS Playoff Format
“It all comes down to the first game."
The New England Revolution are facing off against the Philadelphia Union in the first round of the 2023 MLS Playoffs but things will be a little different.
In the first round of the playoffs, teams will play a best-of-three series. The match will go straight to penalties if the score is even after 90 minutes.
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This is a departure from what MLS has done in previous years. The norm was for a single-elimination match to be played as Revolution fans will have great memories of from the 2021 loss to NYCFC.
On Thursday, interim head coach Clint Peay gave his thoughts on the playoff format.
“It all comes down to the first game,” he said. “You want to have a positive start in the first game. At a minimum, you want to give yourself a chance, and if that means going to penalties, that’s what it is, especially on the road. We have to be smart in how we approach the game, and we have to compete and make it difficult so that you’re in the game until the end and give ourselves a chance to win. As it relates to game two and potentially three, it’s all going to depend. You can use different strategies based on what you feel is the best way to get the result, but it is a format that becomes a little tricky.”
Captain Carles Gil also highlighted the importance of winning the first match.
“Well, not much changes in that we have to go there and win. We know that if we win this first game, it will be a huge step for us and it becomes difficult for them because they’ll know they have to come here and win,” Gil said. “We’re focused on them. We know a tie takes us to penalty kicks. It’s a different format. We know the first game is important and we need to go win it.”
One of the benefits of the new format is that Revolution fans will get to at least witness one playoff game at Gillette Stadium. In previous formats, as the lower seed, New England would have just traveled to Philly and hope to get three points.
But there is no doubt that the first round will be a battle for the Revs. Whenever the Revolution and Union face off on the pitch you know that tempers will flare and it will be a gritty contest.
New England’s destiny is in its hands. If the Revs want to salvage the 2023 season they will need to beat Philadelphia not once but twice. If they fail to, a team that got off to an impressive start will whimper its way into the offseason.