Without setting foot on the pitch, the New England Revolution locked up the league's regular season crown on Saturday.
Seattle's loss to Sporting KC handed the Revolution (21-4-6, 69 points) their first-ever Supporters' Shield title, guaranteeing home-field advantage for New England throughout the MLS Cup Playoffs ahead of Sunday's match at Orlando City SC.
"To finish up the regular season as Supporters' Shield winners, it says a lot about the players, our staff here, and the support we're getting," Revolution coach Bruce Arena said. "I think it (is) a great accomplishment for our team."
It marks the fourth time Arena has secured the Supporters' Shield as a coach, breaking a tie with Sigi Schmid for the most ever. Arena's next victory in MLS play would be his 240th, matching Schmid for the most regular season wins in league history.
A win for the Revolution in Orlando would also match Los Angeles FC for the MLS record for points in a regular season (72 in 2019). It would also be New England's 12th road victory, which would be the most in single regular season in the post-shootout era.
Gustavo Bou's team-leading 15th goal in the 79th minute held up as the winner in the Revolution's 3-2 road victory over D.C. United on Wednesday.
Orlando City (12-8-10, 46 points) has strengthened its playoff positioning in the Eastern Conference standings with a four-match unbeaten stretch (2-0-2). The fourth-place Lions have conceded four goals in the last four games after letting in 12 during their prior four-match skid.
"Obviously, it's going to be a hard game. They are a solid, solid team," Orlando defender Robin Jansson said about the match against New England. "But we believe in ourselves and we just need to keep pushing here into the playoffs."
On Wednesday, Orlando allowed a 51st minute goal on the way to a 1-1 draw at home versus CF Montreal. Chris Mueller had scored just before halftime to give the Lions a 1-0 lead.
New England is 4-0-1 in its last five matches (including playoffs) against Orlando, with the Revolution earning a 2-1 victory at home on Sept. 25.
--Field Level Media