FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution will hit the road this holiday weekend, heading south to the City of Brotherly Love for a nationally-televised meeting with the Philadelphia Union on Sunday evening.
Coverage starts at 5 p.m. ET on FS1 as the Revs (5-7-5, 20 pts.) and Union (5-7-4, 19 pts.) kick off the month of July with an Eastern Conference clash. Brad Feldman and Paul Mariner will have the local radio call on 98.5 The Sports Hub, while Portuguese radio listeners can tune into WMVX 1570 AM Nossa Radio USA.
Join fellow Revolution fans at the club’s official watch party at Flynn’s Irish Pub in Mansfield, where there will be plenty of club-related giveaways, including tickets to an upcoming Revolution match.
Current Form: Revs aiming to use Open Cup success as a springboard into the league
Despite late flurries in both matches, New England’s last two regular-season contests have been a pair of losses to league leaders Toronto FC and the Chicago Fire. The Revs did, however, get a big win on Wednesday night, advancing past old rival D.C. United and into the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals.
As their focus returns to league action, the Revs are hoping to use that Open Cup performance as a momentum builder heading into a pair of critical meetings with Philadelphia and the New York Red Bulls.
“It’s going to help us hopefully get the ball rolling and get these last couple (league) games behind us, and get our season back on track,” said goalkeeper Cody Cropper. “Hopefully we can get three points in Philly and take that into Red Bull, and hopefully claim six points before the (CONCACAF Gold Cup) break.”
Much of New England’s focus as they head to Philadelphia will be on their mentality from the opening whistle, as they’ll look to avoid conceding the game’s first goal for a fourth straight match.
“It’s definitely a mentality thing,” said Andrew Farrell. “We’ve got to go out knowing that we can play with the best teams and beat the best teams. We’ve got to start that from the first minute.
“That’s something that we’ve got to get back to; just being confident in ourselves and carrying that from minute one to minute 90.”
Philadelphia’s rollercoaster first half of the season has already included both a four-game winning streak and a four-game losing streak, but all five of the Union’s wins have come in their last eight games, including a hard-fought 1-0 triumph over D.C. United last weekend at Talen Energy Stadium.
C.J. Sapong continues to lead the line for Philadelphia with a team-best eight goals, while newcomer Haris Medunjanin has chipped in with five assists during an impressive debut season.
“Margins in our league are so small,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “They’ve signed some new players, some key players that are playing well for them. It’s always a difficult team to play against.”
Past Meetings: Revs set sights on a return to form vs. Union after struggling in 2016
After going 2-0-1 in three meetings with the Union in 2015, the Revs had the tables turned on them last year as Philadelphia rolled to a pair of convincing shutout wins. Sapong scored a pair of goals in the Union’s 3-0 win over the Revs at Talen Energy Stadium, then scored once again in a 4-0 victory at Gillette Stadium.
New England can look to their recent success in Philadelphia for a boost, however, as they’d won on three straight visits to Talen Energy Stadium prior to last year’s loss. Overall, the Revs have actually beaten the Union more times in Philadelphia (3) than in Foxborough (2).
Injury Report: Shorthanded Revs hoping to get some bodies back this weekend
A rash of injuries and a series of international call-ups left the Revs with just 17 healthy, available players for Wednesday night’s meeting with D.C. United, but there is hope that some of the Revolution’s walking wounded will recover in time to feature on Sunday.
“We’re still hoping to push a couple of those guys along,” Heaps said midweek. “Scott (Caldwell) is coming along, [Antonio Delamea] is coming along, but both of those guys are day-to-day right now.”
Caldwell (concussion) and Delamea (fractured nose) were both unavailable on Wednesday, as were Daigo Kobayashi (hamstring) and Xavier Kouassi (quad). Meanwhile, Juan Agudelo (USMNT), Kelyn Rowe (USMNT), Gershon Koffie (Ghana) and Je-Vaughn Watson (Jamaica) have all earned international call-ups.
Additionally, midfield maestro Diego Fagundez has been suspended for Sunday’s game for what the MLS Disciplinary Committee deemed “violent conduct” in the late stages of last weekend’s game in Toronto.
Final Thoughts: Revs “continue to work for each other” to account for key absences
“We continue to work for each other,” Cropper said when asked how the Revs cope with so many absences. “We rotate players in and we try to get that job done as best as we can. We know that as a collective group, they bring something that certain players don’t bring, and we’re missing certain things. But at the same time, we have to be able to adapt as professionals.
“The group did a very good job of that [against D.C.], and we can only hope to continue to bring that into the Philadelphia game on Sunday.”