Major League Soccer

Bruce Arena warns against complacency as Revs become first team to reach Playoffs

Chris Smith
Bruce Arena has won five MLS Cups as a coach.
Bruce Arena has won five MLS Cups as a coach. / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

New England Revolution are the first side to book their place in this season's MLS Cup Playoffs but they're nowhere near finished yet.

The Revs have opened up a 15-point lead at the top of the Eastern Conference, while they're 13 points clear of their next closest challengers in the Supporters' Shield race, Sporting Kansas City.

A hard-fought 3-2 win away at the Chicago Fire on Wednesday sealed the Revs' spot in the postseason. It also set a new club record of 18 regular-season wins and matched the club's 59-point record.

Despite all this, head coach Bruce Arena has stressed there is still plenty left to achieve before the playoffs come around.

"I’m not that focused on those types of things," Arena responded when asked about his side's achievements so far. "Obviously, we’re pleased with the effort the team has given and the position we’re in. They are milestones, that’s great. I think we accomplished one of our objectives tonight, we qualified for the playoffs. So that’s official, which is great.

"Now we want to make sure we get home-field advantage. I think we’re pretty close to that. Then thirdly, we want to be the first seed in the Eastern Conference. So, we’re moving forward. Those are the things we want to achieve.

"Currently, we have a record with victories and points. That’s nice. That’s certainly an accomplishment that needs to be recognized. I need to applaud our players, obviously, number one. My staff is wonderful, and they deserve a lot of credit. Everything we do is about the team so that’s a great accomplishment for our team."

Arena's sentiment was echoed by striker Teal Bunbury, who scored New England's second of the night to end an 11-game goalless run dating back to mid-July.

He told reporters: “It’s interesting. It’s kind of weird, actually. We still have a lot of games left. Our ultimate goal is finishing first in the East, to have home-field advantage. For us, it’s like our job isn’t done.

"Our goal is always to make it into the playoffs, so it happening this soon is great. We’re excited and we’re happy, but we’re still thinking about things we could’ve done better in tonight’s game in Chicago. Taking the lead and then giving it away a couple of times and not being clean enough, I think, on the ball, not winning enough tackles. So, there’s a lot of things we can work on but it’s positive. I mean, making the playoffs is always the goal but we have bigger aspirations.”

On avoiding becoming complacent, Bunbury added: “I think we want to continue to improve so we’re always being nit-picky on the things we can be better at.

"Obviously, we’re excited about three points, we’re excited about going to the playoffs. We’re excited our fans get to see that and get to share that with us. But it’s going to take a lot of effort from a lot of guys coming down this stretch.

"Getting into the playoffs, but we can’t have performances like this, so I think that’s just the attitude we need to have to be a better team, to be a great team.”

The Revs host Orlando City on Saturday before travelling to CF Montreal next week.