(Photo credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)
The New England Revolution look to strengthen their bid for home-field advantage when they host the Columbus Crew on Wednesday.
Aided by the only unbeaten home record in MLS, the Revolution (14-6-10, 52 points) are third in the Eastern Conference, two points from second-place Orlando City and a point ahead of the Philadelphia Union. The Revolution have played one fewer match than that pair, as well as the Crew.
The top four teams in each conference earn home field for the first-round, best-of-three series. New England is 11-0-4 at home after a 2-1 win over Charlotte FC before a crowd of 37,701 on Saturday.
"I know in general it's a nightmare to come and play here," Revolution goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr. said. "I played at two previous clubs and coming to New England is not a fun thing to do. To have that type of support, and make our home field a fortress, I think is something we're looking to do."
That could be bad news for the Crew (14-9-8, 50 points), who extended their home unbeaten streak to 8-0-3 after a 1-1 tie vs. the Union on Saturday but are 3-8-4 in away matches.
Coming off a quick turnaround, the task could be daunting, but Crew coach Wilfried Nancy told his team not to view it that way.
"Rest first, and after that, try to have a good performance against New England," he said. "I think this is the only team that haven't lost this year at home so I love it. I love it because this is a really good challenge in front of us, and we are going to try to do something good to have a good performance. This is the idea."
The Crew needs to get away results to have a shot at finishing in the top four. They are fifth, a point behind Philadelphia and a point in front of Atlanta United. The Crew plays at Atlanta on Saturday.
New England is unbeaten in 16 straight home matches (12-0-4) since October 2022, one shy of tying the team mark.
--Field Level Media