Preview: Familiar foes meet again as Revs visit Union for Open Cup quarterfinal
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – A hectic July schedule continues on Tuesday night when the New England Revolution visits the Philadelphia Union for a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal clash at PPL Park. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Live updates of the action will be available on the Revolution’s official Twitter account (@NERevolution).
The winner of Tuesday night’s match will advance to the Open Cup semifinals, where they’ll visit the winner of Wednesday night’s quarterfinal meeting between FC Dallas and the Carolina RailHawks (NASL) on Aug. 13.
Current Form: Both sides running up against first MLS opposition of 2014 Open Cup
New England’s recent frustration in league play continued this past weekend as the Revs (7-7-2, 23 pts.) suffered a fourth straight loss at the hands of Real Salt Lake, done in by a pair of penalty kicks in a 2-1 setback.
They’ll now look to get back on track in the Open Cup, having advanced past the Richmond Kickers and Rochester Rhinos – both of USL PRO – in the fourth and fifth rounds, respectively. Both of those matches unfolded in similar fashion, with the Revs taking two-goal leads into halftime before fending off late fight-backs to earn a pair of one-goal triumphs.
“It’s a game-by-game thing and you have to perform no matter what,” said Kelyn Rowe, who scored the game-winning goal against Rochester. “We had slip-ups where we played good in the first half, didn’t play well in the second half and vice versa. So we know that we have to put a full 90 minutes together.”
The Union (4-8-6, 18 pts.) is also coming off a 2-1 road loss this past weekend, having dropped a 2-1 decision to FC Dallas. Philly’s path to the Open Cup quarterfinals has also been similar to New England’s, having advanced past the Harrisburg City Islanders (USL PRO) and New York Cosmos (NASL) to reach this stage.
Past Meetings: Revs and Union set for fourth meeting in four months
“They know us and we know them.”
That’s what Revolution head coach Jay Heaps said of the Union, having already completed a three-game regular-season series before the 2014 campaign has even hit its midway point.
Philly came out on top on two of those occasions, including a 3-1 win over the Revs just 10 days ago at Gillette Stadium. But the Revs did find success on their most recent visit to PPL Park as five different players scored en route to a 5-3 win – New England’s first-ever triumph in Philadelphia.
Injury Report: Extra day of recovery before return to league action gives Heaps options
Heaps has chosen to blend his lineups with a mix of regular starters and depth players for previous Open Cup matches against Richmond and Rochester, and he’ll likely take a similar approach to the quarterfinal meeting with the Union.
But because this match takes place on a Tuesday night – rather than Wednesday – it offers an extra day of rest ahead of Saturday’s return to league action against Chicago, something Heaps has said could allow him to lean more heavily on his regular starters.
“I think you want to stay true to some of [the blended lineup], but at the same time, we do have an extra day before the game on Saturday,” Heaps said. “Two weeks ago when we played Rochester, we had Wednesday-Saturday, and I think it depleted us a little bit for that Saturday game. Having that extra day, that’s good for us.”
Heaps should have at his disposal a relatively full squad, including forward Jerry Bengtson, who has returned to the Revolution after making three starts for Honduras at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Philadelphia will be without midfielder Michael Lahoud, who’ll serve a one-game suspension after being red carded in the Union’s fifth-round victory over the Cosmos. Otherwise, Heaps expects to see a pretty similar lineup to the one which faced the Revolution just a week-and-a-half ago in Foxborough.
“I don’t see them changing their lineup too much,” Heaps said. “I think three or four players here or there. In terms of what they’re doing, maybe a formation change. But the players are the same, whether they’re taking different starting positions or not – that’s different.”
Final Thoughts: Revs focused on Philly as stakes increase deeper into the Open Cup
“It’s three games. You’ve got to win three games,” Rowe said when asked if the Revs are starting to sense how close they are to an Open Cup trophy. “For us, it’s game-by-game. We’re going to Philly, who just beat us here at home, so we want to return the favor.”