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Revolution to kick off playoffs as top seed in MLS tourney

New England lifted the Supporters' Shield after the best season in league history. It wants to lift the MLS Cup next.

Revs Supporters' Shield
Carles Gil lifts the Supporters' Shield as the Revolution celebrate following the 2021 regular season finale. Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff

A regular-season in which they registered more points than any team in the history of Major League Soccer earned the Revolution the right to bypass the first round of the league playoffs — but when they return to Gillette Stadium for the Eastern Conference semifinals there’ll be no opportunity to rest on those laurels. 

No matter how well they’ve played all year, if New England doesn’t handle its business against the No. 4 New York City Football Club, it’ll be eliminated from the MLS’s single-elimination tournament. That’s a lot of pressure on a team that will be more than three weeks removed from its regular-season finale by the time it returns for its win-or-go home match against a club that’ll likely be riding some measure of momentum after ousting Atlanta, 2-0, in the opening round.

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However, hoisting the Supporters’ Shield suggests Bruce Arena’s team can handle it, and if there’s any rust or lag in energy the Revs can almost certainly expect a lift from their fans, based on the building buzz about this club. The final match of the regular season, though meaningless in the standings, drew a crowd of 31,635. Over the course of the season, the average crowd at Gillette Stadium was 18,861 fans per game, an increase of more than 2,000 compared with 2019, and signifying the biggest attendance increase in MLS this season, percentage-wise.

That’s great news for New England, considering the MLS playoffs run through Foxborough. If the Revolution win it’ll be on to the conference finals, which they’d host — and they’d also host the MLS Cup final on Dec. 11 if they were to reach it. With that as the hope, the Revolution are already selling tickets for all three games, including a package that allows fans to purchase the same seat for all three postseason contests, including the title tilt. Depending on the pricing tier, those packages can save buyers up to 27 percent off box office prices.

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