MLS Regular Season | Match #19
New England Revolution vs. Philadelphia Union
Sunday, August 8 | 6 p.m. ET
Gillette Stadium | Foxborough, Mass.
Watch: TV38, myRITV
Listen: 98.5 The Sports Hub (English), WBIX 1260 Nossa Radio (Portuguese)
Revolution Pregame Live (5 p.m. ET)
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New England Revolution
1st in Eastern Conference (11-3-4, 37 pts.)
Last Result | 0-0 draw vs. Nashville SC
Four of the Revolution’s first five games in the month of August will be home at Gillette Stadium, a stretch they began on Wednesday night with a 0-0 draw against Nashville SC as the Revs were shut out for just the second time this season (both against Nashville). The result snapped New England’s four-game winning streak, but extended their unbeaten run to five (4-0-1) as they remain atop the Supporters’ Shield standings.
The trio of Tajon Buchanan, Matt Turner, and Henry Kessler all returned from Gold Cup duty to go straight into the Revolution’s starting XI, and now they’ll be looking to provide a further boost as the Revs host a Philadelphia Union side they drew 1-1 back in May at Subaru Park.
3rd in Eastern Conference (7-4-7, 28 pts.)
Last Result | 3-0 win vs. Toronto FC
Philadelphia busted out of a mini summer slump (1-2-4 in their previous seven games) with a comprehensive 3-0 win over Toronto FC on Wednesday night at Subaru Park. All the damage was done in the first half as Jakob Glesnes, Dániel Gazdag, and Sergio Santos scored in a 24-minute span, while Andre Blake needed to make just one save to preserve the clean sheet.
Last year’s Supporters’ Shield winners are now up to third in the East, buoyed in large part by their defensive record of 17 goals against in 18 games, third-best in MLS behind Seattle and Nashville.
Revolution midfielder Tajon Buchanan
Tajon Buchanan made his return to the Revolution starting XI in the midweek draw with Nashville SC, albeit in a slightly different role. With Carles Gil unavailable for the first time this season, Buchanan – back from the Gold Cup after being named the tournament’s Best Young Player – lined up underneath Gustavo Bou and Adam Buksa while being given the freedom to find the game in the attack.
Buchanan could be tasked with that responsibility once again on Sunday against a Philadelphia side he has found success against in previous meetings. The 22-year-old’s first three MLS goals were against the Union last season, including the insurance strike in New England’s playoff victory at Subaru Park.
Union left back Kai Wagner
The Union’s lone representative on the 2021 MLS All-Star Team, Kai Wagner has emerged as one of the league’s best outside backs while patrolling the left side for Philadelphia since 2019. Wagner has started 17 of the Union’s 18 games and is second on the team with three assists, while his 31 key passes are tied for 11th league-wide.
Wagner is also a threat from set pieces, both with his service and directly on target. The 24-year-old German ranks tied for fourth in MLS with 18 chances created from set plays, while he also scored with a rocket of a free kick last weekend against the Chicago Fire.
Carles Gil is listed as questionable ahead of Sunday’s game having missed the midweek draw with Nashville, and head coach Bruce Arena provided a brief update on the Revolution captain on Friday afternoon.
“He looked fine moving around the field today,” Arena said, noting that Gil had worked off to the side of training. “We’re watching Carles closely and we’ll move him along appropriately.”
Center back Jon Bell is also listed as questionable after missing the last two games because of injury, while Luis Caicedo is the only player listed as out ahead of the weekend.
Veteran defender Alvas Powell will miss Sunday’s match with a hamstring strain, while the trio of Jack de Vries (concussion protocol), Anthony Fontana (concussion protocol), and Cory Burke (hamstring strain) are all listed as questionable.
There’s also potential for a bit of rotation as the Union keep one eye on Thursday night’s Concacaf Champions League semifinal first leg against Club América at Estadio Azteca.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
New England Revolution head coach Bruce Arena
“You prepare for a good game. You prepare for two teams that will play. Philadelphia is fairly direct. They have good finishers. Their striker [Kacper Przybylko] is a good player, they have a very good midfield, and certainly one of the best goalkeepers [Andre Blake] in the league.”
New England Revolution midfielder Matt Polster
“Obviously, we’ve had a lot of games in a short spell. I think that’s the main focus, because we want to be as fresh as possible going into the Philly game. I think at the end of the day, we weren’t good enough on the ball [in Wednesday’s draw with Nashville SC] and that was kind of harped on a little bit throughout the game. I think if we were a little bit sharper in moments, we would have created better chances. Going into the Philly game, it’s a different type of a challenge. I think they’re going to come out a little bit more of their shape and push us. We’re just going to have to find ways, like I said, to score goals.”
Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin
“As we look forward now, we have a very difficult opponent, New England, the best team in the Eastern Conference this year, playing very good soccer, a very dangerous team, can hurt you a lot of different ways. Obviously could be missing a player or two, just like us, so we expect a really tough match in a hard place to play. A group that’s very well coached, very well organized, and will present a lot of problems for us.”
Philadelphia Union center back Jack Elliott
“I think we just need to come out with the same intensity we did the other night and just try and get a good result against New England, and carry that momentum forward into our game next week. I think just defensive intensity and coming out and playing like how we did on Wednesday night, and then replicate that on Sunday and then next week (in the Concacaf Champions League).”