MLS Regular Season | Match #24
New England Revolution at Philadelphia Union
Friday, September 3 | 7:30 p.m. ET
Subaru Park | Chester, Pa.
Watch: TV38, myRITV
Listen: 98.5 The Sports Hub (English), WBIX 1260 Nossa Radio (Portuguese)
Revolution Pregame Live (6:45 p.m. ET)
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New England Revolution
1st in Eastern Conference (15-4-4, 49 pts.)
Last Result | 2-0 loss at New York City FC
The Revs saw both their nine-game unbeaten run (8-0-1) and four-game road winning streak come to an end last Saturday night at Yankee Stadium, suffering a 2-0 loss to New York City FC. It was New England’s first loss since July 7 and just the third time this season their league-leading attack (44 goals) has been shut out, although they were without key pieces in Carles Gil (two goals, 15 assists) and Tajon Buchanan (six goals, four assists).
Despite the loss New England still hold significant leads in both the Eastern Conference standings (14 points) and Supporters’ Shield race (seven points) as the calendar flips to September and the stretch run begins.
5th in Eastern Conference (8-6-8, 32 pts.)
Last Result | 3-1 loss at D.C. United
The defending Supporters’ Shield winners have struggled away from home in 2021, going 0-4-4 in their last eight road games following last weekend’s 3-1 loss to D.C. United. It was a performance that prompted Union head coach Jim Curtin to say the following: “We haven’t gotten our asses kicked like that in about three years. We got what we deserved.”
As much as Philly have struggled on the road, however, they’ve been equally as good at home, going 6-0-3 in their last nine games at Subaru Park, including a 1-1 draw with the Revolution back on May 12.
Revolution goalkeeper Brad Knighton
The summer months consistently tested New England’s depth, including at the goalkeeper position with Matt Turner missing five games while leading the USMNT to a Concacaf Gold Cup title. Turner will be absent once again on Friday night while on international duty, leaving the goalkeeping reigns to Brad Knighton.
Knighton proved more than capable in July, going 4-1-0 in his five starts and keeping a pair of clean sheets on the road at Atlanta and Miami. The 15-year veteran is expected to be called upon again at Subaru Park, where he spent the 2010 season with the Union, making eight appearances in the club’s inaugural campaign.
Union forward Kacper Przybylko
Philadelphia will also be missing several key pieces on Friday, which could put the onus on hulking forward Kacper Przybylko to spark the attack. Przybylko leads the Union with six goals on the season but hasn’t scored in his last seven appearances, a dry run following a stretch in which he scored in three straight games.
The German striker does have three career goals against the Revs, including the Union’s only goal when these sides played a 1-1 draw at Subaru Park earlier this season.
Depth will be tested once again on Friday as the trio of Tajon Buchanan (Canada), Adam Buksa (Poland), and Matt Turner (United States) are away on international duty, but the group did receive a boost this week as captain Carles Gil returned to training after missing the past six games with a muscle injury.
“We’re just trying to get Carles back on the field at this point. We’re not talking about him playing 90 minutes,” said head coach Bruce Arena, noting that the Revs would make a decision on Gil’s availability after training on Thursday. “We’re trying to get him ready to get back on the field and contribute and move him along so we have him available on a full-time basis as we get closer to the end of the year.”
Matt Polster, meanwhile, returned from a two-game absence with a substitute appearance last weekend at NYCFC, and Brandon Bye is back in training after missing the past three games with an injury.
No team has been hit harder by international call-ups than Philadelphia, which will be missing seven players on Friday night: Andre Blake (Jamaica), Cory Burke (Jamaica), Alvas Powell (Jamaica), Daniel Gazdag (Hungary), Jose Martinez (Venezuela), Jamiro Monteiro (Cape Verde), and Olivier Mbaizo (Cameroon).
Additionally, the Union will be without both Jack Elliott (yellow-card accumulation suspension) and Ilsinho (hamstring), while Sergio Santos (hamstring) and Alejandro Bedoya (ankle) are both questionable.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
New England Revolution head coach Bruce Arena
“You’re playing professional sports, you’ve got to learn how to compete and live with the fact that you don’t win every game. I think this team has had plenty of experience in the past in not winning every game. It’s not a crisis. They are fairly levelheaded. I think there is a nice mix of older leadership with our younger players. When we win games, we don’t get too high, and when we lose games, we don’t get too low. We’re just moving along and getting ready for the next game.”
New England Revolution midfielder Matt Polster
“I think we have shown our depth. I think there was already a moment where two, maybe three other guys were already gone and we’ve come up as a group and taken three points in a lot of those games. Even when Carles [Gil] was out for an extended period of time, the guys have rallied together to keep that streak kind of going and push ourselves even further. I think everybody wants to be a part of this group, wants to play. We have a very competitive group in each position. We have depth and I think we’ve shown that over the course of the season so far.”