Philadelphia Union vs. New England Revolution | 2017 MLS Match Preview
Philadelphia Union vs. New England Revolution
2017 MLS Regular Season - Week 18
Talen Energy Stadium - Chester, Pa.
Sunday, July 2 – 5 pm ET
WATCH: FS1 and FOX Deportes in USA; MLS LIVE in Canada
The way the 2017 season is shaping up, the New England Revolution (5W-7L-5D, 20pts) and the Philadelphia Union (5W-7L-4D, 19pts) are likely to be in direct competition for a spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs as one of the top six teams in the Eastern Conference. That only increases the stakes of their two head-to-head matchups in 2017.
Currently sitting 8th and 9th in the Eastern Conference standings with nearly identical records entering Week 18, the postseason is very much on the minds of the Union, who will play hosts on Sunday.
The two sides are coming off opposite results in midweek U.S. Open Cup play. The Union were eliminated in a penalty kick shootout after a spirited 120 minutes against rivals New York Red Bulls, but they have won five of their last eight league matches. Meanwhile, the Revs advanced past D.C. United to the USOC quarterfinals, bouncing back from two straight league losses to MLS pacesetters Chicago and Toronto.
"[New England are] a team that is creating a lot of chances and they've been on the wrong end of some bounces this year," Union head coach Jim Curtin told the media on Thursday. "A dangerous attacking group."
Curtin made it clear that the regular league starters who went 120 minutes in midweek – forward CJ Sapong, central midfielder Haris Medunjanin and winger Fafa Picault – "are feeling pretty strong and feeling good and ready to turn it around and go again."
Sapong is the club's top scorer, while Picault has arguably been the Union's most dangerous player of late. As one of the lower scoring teams in the East (their 21 goals are 8th best of 11 East teams), Philadelphia will need those two to be at their best against the Revolution if they're to nab a home win ahead of three straight away games (Sporting KC, Montreal and Columbus).
"We need to score more goals, that's fair," Curtin noted in his weekly press conference.
- Suspended: None
- Suspended next yellow card: MF Alejandro Bedoya
- International duty: MF Alejandro Bedoya (US national team)
- Injury Report: OUT -- MF Maurice Edu (left tibia stress fracture); QUESTIONABLE: GK Andre Blake (left rib contusion), MF Warren Creavalle (right hamstring strain), MF Fabian Herbers (right adductor strain), MF Ilsinho (left calf contusion)
Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1, left to right): Andre Blake — Giliano Wijnaldum, Oguchi Onyewu, Jack Elliott, Ray Gaddis — Haris Medunjanin, Derrick Jones — Fafa Picault, Ilsinho, Chris Pontius — CJ Sapong
Notes: After missing the US Open Cup match due to a rib injury, goalkeeper Andre Blake is available for selection vs. New England before joining Jamaica for the CONCACAF Gold Cup ... Curtin noted that attacking midfielder Roland Alberg had his best performance in a Philadelphia Union uniform during the Open Cup match, but a rested Ilsinho probably gets the nod ahead of him vs. New England ... Can US Under-20 star Derrick Jones take advantage of his big chance in central midfield with Alejandro Bedoya away with the US?
- Fafa Picault making most of his opportunity
- Union Matchday Program: July 2, 2017
- Matchday Stadium Guide: Philadelphia Union vs. New England Revolution
- Know your enemy: New England Revolution
- Read: PhiladelphiaUnion.com match preview
New England Revolution
The fact that the New England Revolution could be missing up to six starters against Philadelphia (injury and international duty) won't make it easy for the Revs to get their first win of the season (0W-6L-3D on the road in 2017). They only had 17 available players for the midweek U.S. Open Cup victory.
But it's a sign of the team's improved depth that they were able to win that Open Cup Round of 16 match. Kei Kamara and Lee Nguyen, who has quietly amassed seven assists, good for third in the league, will be asked to carry the attacking load in Philly as the Revs look forward to three straight home league games to finish July (NY Red Bulls, LA Galaxy, Philadelphia).
- Suspended: FW Diego Fagundez (Disciplinary Committee suspension)
- Suspended next yellow card: None
- International duty: FW Juan Agudelo (US national team), MF Kelyn Rowe (US national team), MF Gershon Koffie (Ghana)
- Injury Report: OUT: MF Xavier Kouassi (left quad injury); QUESTIONABLE: MF Daigo Kobayashi (hamstring), DF Antonio Delamea (fractured nose, day-to-day)
Projected Starting XI (4-4-2, left to right): Cody Cropper– Chris Tierney, Benjamin Angoua, London Woodberry, Andrew Farrell – Je-Vaughn Watson, Zachary Herivaux, Scott Caldwell, Teal Bunbury – Lee Nguyen, Kei Kamara
Notes: Scott Caldwell is off the official injury report after suffering a concussion in practice. If he starts, he'll immediately slot into the holding midfield position with Gershon Koffie (int'l duty) and Xavier Kouassi (injury) unavailable ... The big question is whether Daigo Kobayashi has recovered from his hamstring injury to partner Caldwell at central mid. If not, academy product Zachary Herivaux could get his first MLS start after showing well in the US Open Cup on Wednesday.
- How Revs' Juan Agudelo beat the hype and revived a career
- Revs' Brian Wright makes case for more minutes
- RevolutionSoccer.net Preview: Philadelphia vs. New England
- Listen: Latest edition of the Far Post Podcast
- The Bent Musket: Heaps provides injury updates
Sunday's is the first of two regular season meetings between the clubs. The next one comes on Saturday, July 29 at Gillette Stadium.
- All-Time (18 regular season matches): Philadelphia 9W-5L-4D (31 GF / 24 GA); New England 5W-9L-4D (24 GF / 31 GA)
- In Chester (10 regular season matches): Philadelphia 5W-3L-2D (17 GF / 14 GA); New England 3W-5L-2D (14 GF / 17 GA)
Note: In the last three meetings, the Union hold a 2W-0L-1T record, outscoring New England 8-1.
Referee: Chris Penso
Assistant Referees: Eric Boria (bench side), Nick Uranga (far)
Fourth Official: Marcos de Oliveira