The New England Revolution are one win away from the 2020 MLS Cup after playoff wins over the Montreal Impact, Philadelphia Union and Orlando City SC.
Standing in the Revs' way are the Columbus Crew. They are the No. 3 seed and will have homefield advantage in Sunday afternoon's Eastern Conference Final match.
The Revolution are the No. 8 seed and will again be underdogs in their next game, but there are plenty of reasons to believe in this New England team's chances of victory
Here are five of them.
THREE HOT DPs
The Revolution have opened the postseason with three straight wins. New England's longest winning streak during the regular season was two games, and that only happened twice. What's fueled the streak is Designated Players, who are finally getting a chance to play together.
Carles Gil, Gustavo Bou, and Adam Buksa have factored in all seven playoff goals so far. But we haven't seen the team firing on all cylinders because the three DPs appeared together in the starting lineup only three times in the regular season. All three players have played virtually every minute of the postseason so far. There isn't a hotter trio in the league right now.
MATT (BLEEPIN') TURNER Is there anyone else you want in net other than Matt Turner? Andre Blake won MLS goalkeeper of the year but Matt Turner might have been robbed of the award. Maybe it's karma because he's been robbing players of goals all season long. It continued in the playoffs against Orlando. Just ask Nani. His penalty kick could have tied the game in the conference semifinal. But Turner made another highlight reel save and the Revs are one win away from MLS Cup.
His twitter handle is @headturnerr for a reason. There isn't a stat for this but I bet he leads the league in forced swears by opposing players. I like my chances with Matt Bleepin' Turner in net.
IN BRUCE WE TRUST Nobody has won more MLS Cups as a manger or owns a better playoff record than Bruce Arena. Yes, he won previously with D.C. United in the early years of MLS and built a dynasty in Los Angeles with the Galaxy.
But 18 months after taking over a franchise that hit rock bottom, Arena is proving he can be a force. The Revolution Sporting Director and Head Coach wisely prioritized the team's health and preparation over a better playoff seeding. He didn't rush his DPs back to the lineup and all three are heating up at just the right time. Bruce has also made the right moves on the field. Moving attacking winger Tajon Buchanan to right back has paid major dividends in the playoffs. It's almost like Bruce knows what he's doing. I think I trust him.
RIGHT BACK AT YA Nobody on the Revs' roster has made a bigger leap this season than Buchanan. He's taken his second-year surge to a new level in the playoffs. Bruce has moved him to a fullback position and it's paid off. He has scored a goal and drew a penalty while wreaking havoc bombing up the right side when Carles Gil tucks in to a central position.
The converted winger hasn't been a liability defensively at right back. His pace going forward at his current position gives the Revs a different dimension in the attack. Defenders need to be on the look out because he's coming (right back) at you.
THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE THE ROAD Who needs home-field advantage when you are better on the road? The Revs have more away wins than victories at home this season. Their most impressive one just might be their playoff win over Philadelphia. Prior to hosting the Revs in round one of the playoffs, the Supporters' Shield winners had won all nine home games this season.
After that, the Revs hit the road again to beat Orlando City SC, who had only lost one of its 10 home games before hosting New England.