Noel Buck: Revs carrying “Need to Win” mindset into Decision Day finale
Noel Buck and the New England Revolution have more than just pride to play for tonight when they conclude the 2023 MLS regular season with a Decision Day clash against the Philadelphia Union, who are also bound for the MLS Cup Playoffs. Despite a dismal string of results, the Revs can still clinch a berth in the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup, as well as a top-four seed and home field advantage in Round One of the playoffs. However, they will need to defeat the Union tonight at Gillette Stadium to make that a reality.
Buck, the Revolution’s 18-year-old phenom hailing from Arlington, Mass., joined DJ Bean on “The Soccer Show” this morning to reveal the team’s mindset heading into the regular season finale and recount his busy fall that featured his first two call-ups to the England Under-19 Men’s National Team.
“We need to win, especially against Philly,” Buck said, echoing the sentiments of many Boston fans post-Philly Special. “Nobody likes Philly. It would be great to beat Philly.”
With a victory over the Union tonight by three or more goals, the Revolution would leap Philadelphia and clinch a top-four place in the Eastern Conference. With a win against Philly by any margin, combined with a Columbus loss to Montreal, the Revolution would also secure home field advantage, as well as a berth in next season’s Champions Cup, the North American equivalent of the UEFA Champions League.
While a third-place finish is still in play, the Revs are at risk of falling as low as seventh place if the recent down slide continues. The Revolution have lost three consecutive games, all by one-goal margins, and have dug themselves some deep holes in recent weeks.
“At the end of the day, it’s up to us to go on the field and really show what [we can do],” Buck said. “Bring energy and bring the intensity, no matter what’s happening off the field.”
The teenager and recent high school graduate missed last weekend’s match in Nashville while serving on international duty with the England Under-19s, competing in the 2023-204 UEFA Under-19 European Championship qualifiers. Buck made one appearance against Wales on a roster where he is the only player based outside of Europe, and one of only two playing on clubs outside the UK.
“I get called all sorts of things,” Buck said of the friendly hazing he receives from his teammates on the England side. The Massachusetts local holds a UK passport and is eligible to play for the Three Lions thanks to his father’s English citizenship. “There’s obviously the American accent. I have one, so of course they’ve mocked me a bit, but it’s all good banter.”
Tonight’s 6:00 p.m. kickoff is free to watch on Apple TV in English and Spanish, or listen live on 98.5 The Sports Hub with Brad Feldman and Charlie Davies calling the match.