Updated Saturday, March 19
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Spring may be just around the corner, but the New England Revolution and Philadelphia Union might have to deal with one last winter storm this weekend (though the ever-changing weather forecast now says this is unlikely).
Regardless of a potential storm, temperatures are expected to be in the low 40s on Sunday afternoon, when the Revs (0-0-2, 2 pts.) will visit the Union (1-1-0, 3 pts.) at Talen Energy Stadium. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. with coverage in English on Comcast SportsNet and 98.5 The Sports Hub, and in Portuguese on WMVX 1570 AM.
Former Revolution assistant coach John Murphy will handle analyst duties on Sunday alongside play-by-play man Brad Feldman, while Rich Keefe and Shalrie Joseph will be on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s postgame show.
Current Form: Revs head to Philly in search of first win after opening with a pair of draws
The Revs reached the same result in their first two matches of 2016, but in very different fashion.
After a dramatic 3-3 draw with the Houston Dynamo to kick off the campaign, New England battled longtime foe D.C. United to a 0-0 draw last weekend at Gillette Stadium. Lee Nguyen came closest to breaking through with a 55th-minute drive that hit the crossbar, while several other opportunities were denied by goalkeeper Travis Worra.
It was the fourth straight Revolution home opener to finish scoreless, but players and coaches aren’t concerned about the lack of goals against D.C., particularly considering the chances created.
“We had some key chances that I thought if we were a little bit cleaner, a little bit sharper on the final ball – and not just the pass, maybe the finish – we would’ve gotten the three points,” said Revs head coach Jay Heaps.
“We defended well, but we just have to finish,” said Gershon Koffie, who helped the Revs to their first clean sheet of 2016. “I know we’ve got a lot of guys who can finish. It’s just a matter of time.”
Philadelphia are looking forward to their home opener on Sunday after they were the only road team in MLS to pick up three points last weekend. Chris Pontius – acquired in the offseason from D.C. – scored his first two goals for the Union in an impressive 2-1 win over defending Eastern Conference champs Columbus Crew SC.
“Philly’s a whole new look in terms of how they’re playing and in regard to the personnel they have,” said Heaps. “It’s going to be difficult. We don’t know them as well and they might not know us as well, as we’ve made some changes. It’ll be interesting to see.”
Past Meetings: Winners of three straight in Philly, Revs aim to continue road success
Sunday will technically mark the Revolution’s first-ever trip to recently-renamed Talen Energy Stadium, but the Revs will be hoping to find the same success they had in recent years at PPL Park.
Dating back to a 5-3 win over the Union in May 2014 the Revs have won on their last three visits to Philadelphia. They won twice there last year, with Charlie Davies and Teal Bunbury inspiring a comeback victory in April and Diego Fagundez’s 25th career goal taking them to a 1-0 win in August.
Overall the Revs have gone 5-2-1 in their last eight regular-season meetings with the Union, after going winless (0-5-3) in their first eight meetings with the club from 2010 to 2013.
Injury Report: Davies (hamstring) pushing to be ready; Revs have options in his stead
Revolution supporters held their collective breath when Davies was subbed off after suffering a non-contact injury in the 34th minute of last weekend’s home opener, but there was good news as the forward simply suffered a mild left hamstring strain, and won’t be out long-term.
Davies could, however, be sidelined this weekend. He’s listed as questionable on the official injury report, and the Revs are prepared to deal with a potential hole at the forward position.
The Union will be without midfield general and captain Maurice Edu, who’ll miss at least three months with a fracture in his left leg. They could also be missing Tranquillo Barnetta as he makes his way back from a knee injury, while Vincent Nogueira (ankle) is also listed as questionable.
Final Thoughts: Agudelo says Revs will stay the course in Philadelphia
“We play the same way,” Agudelo said when asked if the Revs tweak their approach against Philadelphia. “We try to keep the other team on their back foot and tactically be aware. The coaches do a great job with our opponents, so we understand that going into Philly, a good team. We have to just try to win.”