While the New England Revolution have not officially been eliminated from the MLS Cup Playoffs, it looks likely that they will miss out for a second straight year.
The Revolution are only two places and four points out of the final spot in the playoffs with seven games remaining. Out of these seven games, four of them are on the road. Atlanta United, the team the Revolution face on Wednesday, currently occupy the final the spot, but also happen to have two games in hand on the Revolution.
In this final stretch of the season, the Revolution must play Atlanta United at home and away, Sporting Kansas City away, Toronto FC at home, NYCFC at home, Orlando City away, and finally the Montreal Impact at home on the final day.
If the Revolution want to make the playoffs, they essentially have to win all of their remaining seven games. Every game for the rest of the year is its own cup final. There is no room for error. Draws are not enough. However, there is one crucial roadblock that stands in the way: their away record.
The Revolution have the worst away record in the MLS this season, going 0-10-3 in the 13 games. The last time the Revolution won on the road was September 17th, 2016, when the beat the Montreal Impact 3-1 in Montreal. This means that the Revolution have almost gone an entire calendar year without a win away from home in the MLS.
To keep their playoff hopes alive, the Revolution must first win away against Atlanta United, a team that just recently moved to Mercedes Benz Arena and a team that the Revolution have not played yet this year. After this game they travel to Kansas City and play Sporting Kansas City, a team that have not lost at home all season. Regardless of their away record, both of these games would a tough ask for the Revolution to win in general, but the fact that they have not won away at all does not help.
This upcoming game with Atlanta United will truly be season defining. If the Revolution manage to earn their first away win of the season, they will surely not only lift the spirit of the team, but it would throw them right into the mix for the playoffs. If the Revolution lose, they hand Atlanta a huge boost for playoff qualification, making them 7 points clear of the Revolution with a game still in hand. If they do end up losing this game, the Revolution are all but eliminated.
On a slightly more positive note, the Revolution are 3-2-0 in their last games, having battered Orlando City 4-0 and earned a tough 1-0 win over the Montreal Impact in their last two games. They travel to Atlanta with solid form and good spirits.
Only time will tell if the Revolution truly have what it takes to make it into the 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs, but at the moment it looks like a long shot.