Columbus, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - The New England Revolution is in position to reach the postseason for the first time in four seasons, and another win against the Columbus Crew is all that is required.
The Revs put themselves in a good spot with a 3-2 win over Columbus last weekend, and the two sides will hook up once more with Sunday's meeting taking place at Crew Stadium.
A New England win would put the team in the playoffs as long as Houston doesn't score nine more goals than the Revs in its match with D.C. United on Sunday, and third-year defender A.J. Soares can sense a different atmosphere around the team than in his previous two campaigns.
"We haven't been in the postseason my first two years here, so it's a different feeling; the locker room's got a different vibe," said Soares. "Everyone's fresh, we've got a lot of energy. It's a great group of guys this year."
"It's the kind of group that deserves to be pushing for the playoffs. We've got to go to Columbus this week and win, so we're focused again. That's it."
The approach for the Revs is simple and the team will be hoping to continue its good run of form with the side currently riding a five-game unbeaten streak.
The Crew was officially eliminated from postseason contention with the loss to New England last weekend, but Columbus interim head coach Brian Bliss doesn't expect his side to simply lay down for the Revs on Sunday.
"[Missing the playoffs] is not a reason for us to clean house and roll out 10 new guys," Bliss said. "We've got to play so that New England's really not getting into the playoffs on our backs. We can't allow that to happen. I really don't care who makes the playoffs or who doesn't, it's just not happening on our backs."
Columbus climbed back into the playoff hunt in September with four wins from five games. However, back-to-back defeats against Sporting Kansas City and New England ended those hopes.
The Crew will finish this season in eighth place in the Eastern Conference regardless of the outcome of Sunday's match.
Yet the contest still matters to the Crew according to winger Ethan Finlay.
"The game doesn't mean anything to us, but it definitely still matters," he said. "We don't want New England to get in the playoffs, obviously. We want to do everything we can to win that game if it prevents them. I think it will leave a little bit better taste in our mouth to finish the season."