New England Revolution Profile
|Major Honours||US Open Cup (1), North American SuperLiga (1)|
With only two honours to their name, neither being all that major, The Revs' ultimate goals in the near future will be to lift one of the major awards.
The New England Revolution were a charter member of Major League Soccer representing the Boston area. Since day one in 1994, they have been owned by the Kraft Group and run by Bob Kraft, who is also the owner of the NFL's New England Patriots. The Revs originally played at Foxboro Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, 21 miles southwest of downtown Boston. In 2002, they moved to Gillette Stadium, which was built adjacent to the previous stadium.
The Revolution have been a play-off mainstay during their time in MLS but have yet to win an MLS Cup or Supporters' Shield. They have made it to the MLS Cup finals five times, including a three-year run from 2005-07, but they lost each time. Their first major trophy was the 2007 US Open Cup, and they won the North American SuperLiga in 2008.
The Revolution club badge is stylized after the United States flag with the stars made into a soccer ball. There are six stars to represent the six states that make up New England. They have nearly always worn navy kits at home and, since 2014, have matched them with white shorts. The secondary kits were white until 2015 and have been either red or sky blue since.
The early years
Two years after the United States hosted the 1994 FIFA World Cup, MLS launched with 10 teams. The Revolution had US men's national team players Alexi Lalas, Joe-Max Moore and Mike Burns in their ranks. Frank Stapleton was the first manager, and the Revs lost their first-ever game 3-2 at Tampa Bay. They won their home opener 1-0 over the NY/NJ MetroStars and stayed competitive for the first half of the season. However, the second half was another story, with seven losses in their final 11 games. With a last-place finish in the Eastern Conference, the Revolution missed the play-offs.
Stapleton was replaced by Mutiny manager Thomas Rongen for the 1997 season and they had a stronger second campaign. The Revolution again won 15 of 32 games, but they finished fourth in the East and made the play-offs. In the first round, they lost to D.C. United 4-1 and 2-1 and were eliminated.
Rongen was retained for the 1998 season, and New England added El Salvador star Raul Diaz Arce. He led the team with 18 goals, but the Revolution suffered a nine-game winless streak and missed the play-offs with just 11 wins from 32 games, the worst record in all of MLS. Rongen was fired before the season ended and former Italian goalkeeper Walter Zenga took over on August 24, 1998, as player-manager. It was his first managerial job.
The Revolution again missed the play-offs in 1999 and Zenga retired as a player when he was let go as manager. For the second time in four seasons, Moore led the team in scoring, this time with 15 goals.
New England Revolution's first taste of success
Fernando Clavijo took over as manager for the 2000 campaign and the Revolution battled at the top of the newly formed Eastern Division all season. They finished in second place with 13 wins and 45 points, nine points behind Miami. Overall they had the No. 7 seed and faced No. 2 Chicago Fire in the first round of the play-offs. After losing the opening game 2-1, the Revs got a goal from USMNT striker Eric Wynalda to win the second game. The deciding game in Chicago was a disaster for the Revs as the hosts won 6-0.
The 2001 season saw the Revs miss the play-offs with a third-place finish in their division and a ninth-place finish overall. They set a new franchise low with just seven wins, 27 points, and 35 goals. They did, however, have their first deep run in the US Open Cup. After beating lower division teams in the first two games, they defeated MLS sides Columbus Crew 2-1 and D.C. United 2-0 to reach their first-ever final. Wolde Harris' goal gave them an early lead over LA Galaxy, but they eventually lost 2-1 due to an extra-time goal.
Steve Nicol brings more fire to the Revs
The Revolution hired yet another manager in 2002, this time bringing in former Liverpool player Steve Nicol, who had twice managed the team on an interim basis. They brought in USMNT striker Taylor Twellman, who had spent two years in the 1860 Munich reserve team. The new combination was a smashing success as Twellman scored 23 goals and finished second in the MLS MVP race. Nicol was named MLS Coach of the Year as the Revs went from near last to first, winning the East on a tie-breaker.
In the play-offs, they got revenge over Chicago Fire by winning the third game of the series 2-0. Twellman scored twice in the three games and New England outscored Chicago 5-2 in the series. In the conference finals, the Revolution drew twice against Columbus Crew while winning the middle game 1-0 through a Jay Heaps goal. The MLS Cup final was played in Massachusetts in front of 61,316 fans as New England faced LA Galaxy. Neither team scored in regulation and the Galaxy won 1-0 with a golden goal in the 113th minute.
Twellman scored 17 goals in the 2003 season as New England finished second in the East. They eliminated MetroStars from the first round of the playoffs but lost to Chicago Fire in the conference finals. In the 2003 CONCACAF Champions League, they lost in the round of 16 to Costa Rican side Alajuelense.
2004 was lackluster for the Revs in the regular season, but they got things going in the play-offs. They upset top seed Columbus in the first round 2-1 on aggregate but lost on penalty kicks to D.C. United 4-3 in the conference finals.
The 2005 season was a massive success for the Revolution as they set team records in wins (17), points (59), goals scored (55) and fewest goals conceded (37). They nearly won the MLS Supporters' Shield while winning the Eastern Conference. In the first round of the play-offs, they beat the MetroStars 3-2 on aggregate, and Clint Dempsey's goal in the fourth minute was enough to beat the Fire in the conference finals. They again faced LA Galaxy in the MLS Cup final, this time in Texas. Once again, the game was goalless after 90 minutes and the Galaxy prevailed 1-0 with a goal in the 105th minute.
Twellman scored 15 goals to lead the team in 2006 as they finished second in the East. They again eliminated Chicago in the first round of the play-offs, this time on penalty kicks after the second leg. In the conference finals, Twellman scored in the fourth minute for a 1-0 win over D.C. United. The MLS Cup final was goalless for a third time after 90 minutes, this time against Houston Dynamo. Twellman scored in the 113th minute, but Houston tied the game a minute later. In the penalty shootout, the Revs missed their third and fifth kicks as Houston won 4-3.
The 2007 season saw Twellman score 23 goals while New England finished second in the East. They won their first major trophy, the US Open Cup, with a 3-2 win over FC Dallas as Twellman, Pat Noonan and Wells Thompson scored. For a third straight year, the Revs reached the MLS Cup final and Twellman scored in the 20th minute against Houston in Washington D.C. However, the Dynamo scored twice in the second half to win 2-1.
The Revs earned another major trophy in 2008 with triumph in the North American SuperLiga. They won their group stage, beat Mexican side Atlante 1-0 in the semi-finals, and dispatched Houston on penalty kicks after a 2-2 draw. However, their run to the MLS Cup finals ended with a first-round play-off loss to Chicago.
New England reached the semi-finals of the 2009 North American SuperLiga but again lost in the first round of the MLS Cup play-offs to Chicago.
The era of strong play ended in 2010 as the Revolution missed the play-offs for the first time in nine seasons under Nicol. Heaps and Steve Ralston had left the team before the campaign began and Twellman retired after it.
The 2011 season got even worse for New England with an MLS-worst five wins and 28 points. Nicol left the team after the campaign with 112 wins in 301 games managed over 10 seasons. He led the Revolution to six straight Eastern Conference finals (2002-07), four MLS Cup finals (2002, 2005-07), and two major trophies.
The Jay Heaps era
Former player Jay Heaps took over as manager for the 2012 season and his first campaign was one of rebuilding, with just nine wins and a failure to make the play-offs. They bounced back strongly in 2013 though, with Diego Fagundez leading the team with 13 goals. The Revs finished third in the East, returning to the play-offs, but they lost to Kansas City 4-3 on aggregate in the first round.
The 2014 season saw USMNT striker Lee Nguyen score a team-best 20 goals as the Revolution finished second in the East. They beat Columbus in the first round of the play-offs 7-3 on aggregate as Nguyen scored in both legs. In the East finals, they got past Red Bulls 4-3 on aggregate, with Charlie Davies scoring the winner in the 70th minute of the second leg. For a third time in the MLS Cup final, the Revolution faced the LA Galaxy. They lost 2-1 in extra time, marking their fifth finals loss and fourth to come in extra time.
Davies led the 2015 squad with 10 goals as they finished fifth in the East. In the first round of the play-offs, they lost to D.C. United 2-1, with Juan Agudelo scoring in the 15th minute.
The next three years were a struggle for New England as they finished seventh, seventh and ninth in the East, missing the play-offs each year. The only bright spot was their 2016 US Open Cup run to the finals. Agudelo scored twice in the finals, but the Revolution lost to FC Dallas 4-2.
Heaps was fired in September 2017 and the Revs hired former USMNT goalkeeper Brad Friedel in his first club managerial role. He lasted 46 games, winning just 12 while in charge. After a 2-8-2 (W-L-D) start to the 2019 season, Friedel was fired and replaced on an interim basis by assistant Mike Lapper.
The legend that is Bruce Arena takes charge
Lapper was in charge for just three games, but he was never defeated, securing one win and two draws. On June 2, the Revolution hired former D.C. United, NY Red Bulls, LA Galaxy and USMNT manager Bruce Arena. His first game in charge was a 2-1 away win over the Galaxy and he didn't suffer defeat in any of his first eight games in charge.
With that late run, the Revs returned to the play-offs in the final spot in the East, but they lost 1-0 at Atlanta United in the first round.
Arena's first full season began with a loss at Montreal and a draw against Chicago before the 2020 campaign was suspended due to COVID-19.
At the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando in July, they beat Montreal 1-0 and drew the next two group games to make the round of 16. They then lost to Philadelphia Union 1-0 and were eliminated from the tournament.
When the MLS regular season resumed, the Revolution lost just two of their first 10 games to get themselves into play-off contention. They finished as the eighth seed while winning eight games and drawing eight of the 23 played. In the play-in round, they beat Montreal 2-1 with a 95th-minute goal from Gustavo Bou. Adam Buksa and Tajon Buchanan scored in a 2-0 upset of No. 1 seed Philadelphia Union in the conference quarter-finals. They went to Orlando in the conference semi-finals and won 3-1 as Bou scored twice and Carles Gil also found the back of the net. In the Eastern Conference finals, their underdog run ended with a 1-0 away defeat to eventual champions Columbus.
New England Revolution's rivals
By far the biggest rivalry for the Revolution is the New York Red Bulls, who were known as the NY/NJ MetroStars when MLS began. The cities of Boston and New York have extensive rivalries even without sports. Still, they have enjoyed long rivalries in baseball (Red Sox/Yankees), football (Patriots/Jets), hockey (Bruins/Rangers) and basketball (Celtics/Knicks). From 2002 to 2014, the rivalry was rather one-sided as the Revs went 20 games unbeaten at Gillette Stadium against the Red Bulls. The Revolution also eliminated New York from the MLS Cup play-offs in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014. The teams have split four US Open Cup games, with the Revs winning the most recent in 2019.
The Revolution added another New York rival in 2015 when New York City FC not only joined the league but took Yankee Stadium as their home ground. Through the first six years of the rivalry, they have only met in MLS regular season games, with the Revs holding a 7-5 lead alongside four draws.
The Revs have had numerous play-off clashes with the Chicago Fire, forming an intense rivalry even though the cities are not particularly close. Chicago eliminated New England from the 2000 play-offs and the Revs returned the favour two years later. The Fire beat the Revs in the 2003 Eastern Conference finals and the Revs got revenge two years later. The two teams met in the MLS Cup play-offs in four straight seasons from 2006-09. New England won the first two matchups, but Chicago eliminated the Revs in each of the next two seasons. The teams last met in the US Open Cup in 2016, with New England winning 3-1 in the semi-finals.
The Revolution's top players
Among the Revolution's franchise leaders are Taylor Twellman with 101 goals (28 of which being match winners) and Steve Ralston with 73 assists. Matt Reis leads the way in goal with most starts (253), best goals against average (1.30), most saves (981) and most clean sheets (66). Shalrie Joseph holds the team record for most games (261) and most minutes (22,866).
The Revs have had at least one Designated Player since 2011, but they haven't always been the biggest names in world soccer. Joseph, Jerry Bengtson, Jermaine Jones, Jose Goncalves, Kei Kamara and Claude Dielna are past D.P.s. For the 2020 season, they had three D.P.s: Carles Gil, Gustavo Bou and Adam Buksa.
The Revs have had plenty of US men's national team players over the years including Juan Agudelo, Teal Bunbury, Charlie Davies, Clint Dempsey, Benny Feilhaber, John Harkes, Jones, Alexi Lalas, Joe-Max Moore, Lee Nguyen, Michael Parkhurst, Twellman and Eric Wynalda.
Other big-name players to call New England home include Raul Diaz Arce, Avery John and Giovanni Savarese.