FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – With 10 games remaining in the regular season, the New England Revolution looks to keep pace with the pack in the Eastern Conference when the Philadelphia Union visits Gillette Stadium for an I-95 showdown on Sunday night.
The Revs (9-9-6, 33 pts.) and Union (10-7-8, 38 pts.) – separated by just five points in the East – will get underway at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday with both Comcast SportsNet and 98.5 The Sports Hub covering the action.
Current Form: Both sides looking to make moves in a crowded Eastern Conference
Five lineup changes, including the much-anticipated return of Juan Agudelo, sparked the Revolution to a 2-0 win over the Chicago Fire last weekend in Foxborough, keeping the Revs three points back of the East’s fifth and final playoff spot.
Agudelo scored the game-winning goal with a skillful back-heel lob and drove the attack with his holdup play, but just as important were the Revolution’s efforts on the defensive side of the ball as every player put in the work to help blank the Fire and secure a league-leading 12th clean sheet.
“We had 11 guys on the same page last game that were really ready just to fight for the team,” said Chad Barrett. “Chicago had absolutely no room to do anything. I think that was really important. They just felt like they couldn’t get going and we felt like we were flying.”
The Union visited Red Bull Arena last weekend, grinding out a 0-0 draw to secure a first-ever road point against the New York Red Bulls. With the draw, Philadelphia improved its road record to 4-4-4 this season, making the Union one of just three teams in MLS with at least a .500 record away from home.
John Hackworth’s side enters the weekend just one point back of first place in the East.
Past Meetings: Rubber match on tap as Revs, Union split first two meetings
Sunday night will serve as the rubber match in the 2013 season series after the teams split the first two meetings, each side picking up a shutout victory at home.
Jack McInerney scored the game’s only goal to lift Philly to a 1-0 win at PPL Park all the way back on March 16, while Diego Fagundez and Lee Nguyen got on the board in New England’s 2-0 win at Gillette Stadium on April 27.
The Revolution’s victory in the most recent meeting was New England’s first-ever triumph over Philadelphia after going 0-5-3 through the first eight meetings.
Injury Report: Sene suspended for New England; Philadelphia close to full health
Fans who arrive at Gillette Stadium early on Sunday night can take home a Saer Sene bobblehead, but unfortunately they won’t be able to see him on the field as he’ll serve a one-game suspension. Sene was shown a red card after a postgame fracas following the 2-0 win over Chicago, in which Sene was trying to play peacemaker during an incident with Fire defender Bakary Soumare, who was also red-carded.
On the injury front, Juan Toja (lower back irritation) will be sidelined for a third straight game, while both Clyde Simms (R turf toe) and Chris Tierney (R hip irritation) are listed as questionable entering the weekend.
The Union comes to Foxborough without many injury concerns, listing just two players – defender Raymon Gaddis (L high ankle sprain) and backup goalkeeper Chris Konopka (L knee sprain) – as questionable.
Final Thoughts: Burgeoning rivalry to write another chapter on Sunday night
“There’s no doubt they are a good team, but here (at Gillette Stadium), we really should be taking three points from the game,” said Barrett. “I don’t think there’s a whole lot of love lost between us two, just over the years and just from what I’ve experienced this year. We’re two teams that like to hit each other. Again, I wouldn’t expect a very pretty game, but I expect us to come out on top.”