20220528_PHI_Preview

MLS Regular Season | Match #13
New England Revolution vs. Philadelphia Union
Saturday, May 28 | 7:30 p.m. ET
Gillette Stadium | Foxborough, Mass.

Watch: WSBK-TV38, myRITV (Rhode Island), CoziTV (Western Mass.)
- Talent: Brad Feldman (play-by-play), Charlie Davies (analyst), Naoko Funayama (sideline)
Listen: 98.5 The Sports Hub (English), 1260 AM Nossa Radio (Portuguese)

CURRENT FORM

New England Revolution
9th in Eastern Conference (4-5-3, 15 pts.)
Last Result (MLS) | 3-2 win at FC Cincinnati
Last Result (Open Cup) | 1-0 loss (AET) at New York City FC

Saturday night wraps up a busy week for the Revs, who claimed their first road win of the season last weekend in Cincinnati before going 120 minutes in a 1-0 loss to New York City FC in the U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 on Wednesday night. Despite the hectic stretch, Bruce Arena’s decision to rotate his XI heavily for that midweek showdown should help keep the Revs somewhat fresh heading into Saturday.

In league play, New England have been resurgent in the past month, going 2-0-2 in their last four regular season games to climb to ninth in the crowded Eastern Conference. Adam Buksa (goals in six straight league appearances) and Carles Gil (assists in five straight league appearances) have been key to the surge as the Revs have scored multiple goals in seven straight games, a club record.

Philadelphia Union
1st in Eastern Conference (6-1-6, 24 pts.)
Last Result | 2-0 win at Portland Timbers

Philadelphia have been the toughest team to beat in MLS this season, losing just once through their first 13 games while every other team in the league has suffered at least three losses. The Union will arrive in Foxborough carrying a six-game unbeaten streak, although that stretch included a string of five straight draws before last weekend’s 2-0 road win over the Portland Timbers.

Bolstered by a league-best defense, Philadelphia have conceded just nine goals through 13 games for a team goals against average of 0.69. They’ll enter the weekend having kept back-to-back clean sheets against Inter Miami CF and Portland, backstopped by goalkeeper Andre Blake, tied for second in MLS with six shutouts.

KEY PLAYERS

Revolution defender Brandon Bye
Brandon Bye has been one of the best right backs in MLS this season, combining lockdown one-on-one defending with a lethal ability to deliver service from the flank. That ability was on display in full force last weekend in Cincinnati, where Bye registered the primary assist on all three of New England’s goals in a 3-2 win. Just 12 games into 2022, Bye has already set a career high for assists (4) and matched his career high for goals (2).

Bye’s defensive abilities may also be key on Saturday night with Philadelphia left back Kai Wagner roaming his side of the field. Wagner leads the Union with five assists on the season – including two from open play – and the 25-year-old German is eighth in MLS with 31 chances created.

Union midfielder Dániel Gazdag
Acquired by the Union last May, Dániel Gazdag spent the 2021 season settling into his new surroundings while registering four goals and five assists in 23 appearances. The Hungarian midfielder has really emerged in 2022, however, with a team-leading seven goals and three assists through 13 appearances.

Gazdag has been a rock for the Union this season, starting every game while operating in an attacking midfield position ahead of José Martínez and in behind Philadelphia’s two forwards.

STATUS REPORT

Revolution
Henry Kessler is the only player on New England’s official availability report – listed as questionable with a leg injury – but the center back does appear close to a return after missing last weekend’s trip to Cincinnati.

“It’s a minor injury,” Arena said of Kessler’s ailment. “To what extent, I can’t tell you, but I’d anticipate that he’s back very soon.”

Otherwise the Revolution have been approaching full health, with Gustavo Bou and Jon Bell recently returning from injury and Jozy Altidore back in full training after missing the last four games in all competitions.

“Everything has been good,” said Arena. “We’re as healthy as we’ve been all year.”

Union
Philadelphia will be without one of their leading scorers on Saturday night with Julián Carranza – on loan from Inter Miami CF – suspended because of yellow card accumulation. The 22-year-old forward has started 11 games in his first season in Philly and is second on the team in both goals (4) and assists (3).

As for injuries, Philadelphia list just one player on their official availability report: Mikael Uhre, who is questionable after missing the last five games in all competitions with a quad injury. Uhre has one goal and one assist in his first season in MLS.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

New England Revolution sporting director and head coach Bruce Arena
“I haven’t watched much of (Philadelphia) this year, but it’s the same team each and every year. They know what they’re about. The same players play basically every game, same style. They’re just a very good team, hard to play against, very well-coached. Good players, well-coached, and very consistent in the way they go about their business.”

New England Revolution defender DeJuan Jones
“We’ve played Philly a lot, especially over the last couple years, and we know it’s always a tough game. They play hard. They play the same lineup pretty much every game so they have really good chemistry together. We know it’s going to be a tough battle for 90 minutes. The way they press, the way they work together, they’re just a tough team to play against. We’re really excited for the challenge, and I think we’ve prepared well this week.”