With a playoff berth officially sewn up this week, the New England Revolution will hope to increase their lead atop the Eastern Conference standings when they host Orlando City on Saturday from Gillette Stadium.
The Revs are on a seven-game winning streak at home with a 13-point lead in the race for the Supporters' Shield, while the Lions are looking to snap a seven-match losing run on the road.
It is not the ultimate goal, but Bruce Arena can check off one box on his team's list of goals this year, becoming the first side in MLS in 2021 to officially punch their ticket into the postseason.
The Fire did not make it easy on them as they answered back twice after New England had scored, but in the end, just like they have done all season, the Revs found a way to earn three points, scoring the winner in injury time.
After making the Eastern Conference finals last year, there were plenty of expectations for this team going into the regular season, and they have definitely exceeded them at this stage of the campaign, currently on 59 points, which matches a team record and with seven games remaining, they are on pace to beat the points record of 72, set by Los Angeles FC in the 2019 regular season.
While the Revolution have some individually gifted players, they have shown throughout the year that up and down their roster they are as good as any team out there, as 13 different players have scored goals and their substitutes in their last match had a combined 38 goals and 38 assists this year.
New England have started quickly throughout the season, with more than 50% of their goals coming in the first half, forcing other teams to take more risks and leaving a lot of space for the Revs to expose them on the counter.
They are the team to beat in the league at the moment, but there should still be plenty of motivation for them to play hard down the stretch as they need only five more goals to match their regular-season club record, and they have never captured the Supporters' Shield, nor have they ever won an MLS Cup.
Orlando City have picked a bad time to start struggling, currently on a three-game losing streak, which has dropped them into fourth in the Eastern Conference.
It is not just the fact that they are losing or that they are only four points above the playoff line right now, but for Oscar Pareja, he has to be scratching his head, wondering what has caused his solid defensive unit to fall asleep in recent weeks.
The Lions have struggled in key moments in games, and it has been those moments that have turned a close match in favour of their opponents.
In their last two fixtures, they have fought their way back from 1-0 deficits but have lost their focus temporarily after equalising, conceding the winning goal to the Philadelphia Union four minutes after tying the game and allowing the winner versus CF Montreal 10 minutes after erasing a 2-0 score against them.
They have surrendered 10 goals in their last three games, while allowing far too many quality scoring opportunities with 20 shots on target over that stretch.
Playing their next two matches against the top two teams in the East (New England and Nashville SC) will be a tough ask for Orlando, but that alone should motivate them to stay sharp and focused for 90 minutes, and they will have to be if they want to earn points against both of those sides.
Carles Gil scored the game-winner for New England on Wednesday, his third of the campaign as he is tied for third in MLS in combined goals with 19 total goals and assists on the year, while Henry Kessler notched his first of the campaign and his second career goal while also having a team-high six clearances and blocking four shots.
Luis Caicedo made his first appearance since October 6, 2019, playing the full 90 minutes, surpassing the 5,000 mark in his Revs career, Wilfrid Kaptoum was sharp with his passing, completing 28 of his 30 passes, with six recoveries and winning seven duels.
Ruan has scored a goal in each of his last two games, his first two in MLS, while Mauricio Pereyra picked up his ninth assist of the year on that play, setting a new single-season record for him in that department, and if he sees the field on Saturday it will be his 50th appearance for Orlando in all competitions.
Nani and Andres Perea missed their last match through red card suspensions, and Antonio Carlos will not be available for this game after he was given his marching orders by the referee late in their defeat to Philly.
New England Revolution possible starting lineup:
Turner; Farrell, Bell, Kessler, Bye; Polster, Caldwell, Buchanan; Gil; Buksa, Bou
Orlando City possible starting lineup:
Gallese; Ruan, Jansson, Hope-Gund, Smith, Moutinho; Michel, DeZart, Urso; Dike, Akindele
We say: New England Revolution 3-1 Orlando City
The Revs know how to find the back of the net, and they do it a lot at home with 12 in their last five games, and even though their lead is quite comfortable at the moment, they still want to make more history.
Orlando look like they have unravelled with three red cards in their last two games, and they are winless in their previous seven road fixtures, with a number of lopsided defeats.