While the New York Red Bulls are focused on winning the Supporters' Shield, the New England Revolution are just trying to emerge from a crowded Eastern Conference playoff race with a postseason berth.
New York looks to punch its ticket to the playoffs while winning a fifth straight home meeting with New England on Saturday night.
The Red Bulls (15-9-7) hold a one-point edge on Western Conference co-leaders Real Salt Lake and Seattle in the Supporters' Shield race after a 1-all draw with the Sounders on Sunday.
Tim Cahill's goal in the 76th minute helped New York earn a crucial point, though its four-game winning streak was snapped. One more point Saturday would clinch a postseason berth for the East leader, though coach Mike Petke has much bigger goals in mind.
"We don't think that we've arrived," Petke said. "We don't think that we're at the top, where we need to be, and that things are going to be easy from now on."
Petke was impressed with the performance of Cahill, who helped carry a team missing three key starters. Thierry Henry and Jamison Olave refused to play on Seattle's artificial surface because of chronic Achilles' and knee problems, respectively, and forward Bradley Wright-Phillips sat out due to a right hamstring strain.
Wright-Phillips' injury may be long term, according to Petke, but Cahill is focused on continuing to play well no matter who joins him on the pitch.
"Every week, it's all about three points. We just concentrate on the next game," Cahill said. "We're going to prepare this whole week for next game at home and see what happens, because all we can affect is ourselves. The only way we lose games is when we give them away."
That hasn't happened too often, which is a main reason Petke is getting strong consideration for coach of the year honors.
"If we lose, it comes down to my preparation for them that it wasn't right, it wasn't on," Petke said. "If we win games, well I'm not on the field. The players have to win the games, and I truly believe that. They're the ones out there living it, and I'm the one on the sidelines freaking out."
New England (11-11-8) is remaining calm, though it is running out of time to secure one of the five East playoff spots. It has gone 1-2-2 over its last five after a 1-all draw with Houston last Saturday.
The Revolution are tied with Columbus for sixth place, one point behind Philadelphia and three behind the fourth-place Dynamo.
"We just have to take each game as it is," rookie midfielder Scott Caldwell told the team's official website. "We've got to get maximum points in just about every game. We have to just think of (Saturday's game) as another game. You just have to go out and perform."
Saer Sene scored last week and has two goals and three assists over his last four.
"It's the right time (to heat up)," Sene said. "We have four games left and I want to try my best and do everything to go to the playoffs and help the team."
New York is 4-1-3 in the last eight against New England, winning 4-1 on April 20 before the teams played to a 1-all draw May 11.
- Sports & Recreation
- New York Red Bulls
- New England Revolution
- New England
- Mike Petke
- Tim Cahill