FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution returns to action on Saturday, Sept. 1, when the club continues its three-game home-stand at Gillette Stadium against the Philadelphia Union.
The Revs (6-14-6, 24 pts.) and Union (7-13-4, 25 pts.) will get underway at 7:30 p.m. Comcast SportsNet will televise the game regionally, while 98.5 The Sports Hub will have the radio call.
Current Form: Both Revs and Union put winless August in the rearview mirror
No two teams will be happier to see the calendar flip to September than the Revs and Union, neither of which managed a victory in the month of August.
New England kicked off a three-home-games-in-eight-days stretch midweek against Chivas USA, racing out to an early 3-0 lead only to relinquish that advantage en route to a 3-3 draw. The result snapped the Revolution’s five-game losing streak, but extended the club’s winless run to nine games (0-7-2), matching a club record.
“It’s been the same old story,” said goalkeeper Matt Reis. “We’ve had mental lapses, we’ve had bad decisions and those have come back to haunt us. It seems like any time we make a mistake, it’s costing us. We’ve done well in scoring three goals [but] as a team, we just have to do better about managing the game.”
Philadelphia has encountered similar struggles in recent weeks, going winless in five games (0-3-2) since defeating the Revs on July 29 at PPL Park. Following Wednesday night’s last-minute loss to the Columbus Crew, head coach John Hackworth – who recently had the “interim” tag removed from his title – declared the playoffs out of reach for his side.
Past Meetings: Revs hoping sixth time’s the charm in quest for first win over Philly
In order to snap their winless run on Saturday night, the Revs will have to do something they’ve never done before: beat the Philadelphia Union.
The Revs are winless (0-3-2) in five meetings with the Union, including a 2-1 loss at PPL Park just five weeks ago when Jack McInerney completed Philadelphia’s second-half comeback with a 90th-minute winner. McInerney also scored against the Revolution back in 2010 at Gillette Stadium, where the Revs have dropped both previous meetings with the Union.
Injury Report: Top scorer Sene ruled out for Revs; Valdes a question mark for Union
Saer Sene scored his team-leading 10th and 11th goals of the season in the Revolution’s midweek draw with Chivas USA, but the French striker was forced out of the game in the 65th minute with a sprained left knee. On Friday it was confirmed that the injury will sideline Sene for this weekend’s meeting with the Union, marking his first absence since missing the season opener through injury.
Diego Fagundez partnered Jerry Bengtson up top after Sene’s departure on Wednesday night, but Blake Brettschneider and Dimitry Imbongo will also make a case for increased time in Sene’s absence.
Union captain Carlos Valdes limped off in the 55th minute of Philadelphia’s midweek loss to the Crew after tweaking his hamstring, putting the Colombian’s availability for the weekend in doubt. Valdes reportedly received a positive evaluation from Philly’s medical staff on Friday, however, and Hackworth remains hopeful he’ll be able to call on his captain Saturday night at Gillette Stadium.
Final Thoughts: Tightening up defensively the focus after recent lapses
“I’ve always stuck to the motto that defense wins championships,” said Clyde Simms when asked about the 3-3 draw with Chivas USA and the recent 4-3 loss to the Crew. “If you’d told me we’d score six goals in two games, I would’ve told you we’d be 2-0 in those games. But to give up seven is definitely frustrating. To only have a tie and a loss in those two games is frustrating.
“We have to tighten it up defensively. It’s not just the back four. When I say defensively, it starts up top. You have to get good pressure from the forwards to make everything predictable and our shape has to be tight to make sure we’re not too loose.”