FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Saturday. Wednesday. Saturday. Wednesday. Saturday.
The first half of May represents the busiest stretch of the New England Revolution’s 2019 schedule, as they’ll play five games in a span of 15 days, beginning on Saturday night when they’ll visit the Philadelphia Union.
Kickoff from Talen Energy Stadium is set for 7:30 p.m., with NBC Sports Boston televising the match and streaming the action live on NBCSportsBoston.com and the NBC Sports mobile app. Radio listeners can catch the call in English on 98.5 The Sports Hub HD2, and in Portuguese in 1260 AM Nossa Radio USA.
Postgame coverage will begin immediately after the final whistle on NBC Sports Boston.
Current Form: Revs aim to build on offensive explosion; Union climb to top of East
Last weekend’s trip to Kansas City proved to be a mixed bag for the Revs (2-6-2, 8 pts.), who finally got their breakout offensive performance in a wild 4-4 draw with Sporting KC. There was frustration, however, as the Revs saw a pair of two-goal leads (3-1, 4-2) slip away with both Brandon Bye and Jalil Anibaba sent off in the second half.
As they continue a three-game road swing this weekend in Philly, the Revs are focusing on the positives, primarily that four-goal outburst which has provided a building block in the midst of a grueling stretch.
“Sometimes you just need to take the one and it gives more confidence, and the others will follow,” said head coach Brad Friedel. “There are a lot of good things to take from the game, and it was nice to see us hit the back of the net a few times. Hopefully we can have that continue on Saturday.”
While the Revs remain in search of their first road win of the season, they’ve actually put together some of their best performances away from home, particularly in the attack. New England have scored just three goals in their six home games, but they’ve registered seven goals in four road games.
“We know we haven’t started as well as we [wanted], and we know that to be successful and make it into the playoffs, you’ve got to win and get points on the road,” said Andrew Farrell. “Obviously we haven’t been doing as great as we have been in the past at home, so we know we need to make up those points on the road.”
This weekend they’ll aim to do so at Talen Energy Stadium, where the Union (5-3-2, 17 pts.) have won four straight, outscoring opponents 10-1 in the process. All told Philly are 5-1-2 since dropping the first two games of the season, and they’ve climbed into a tie for first place in the East along with D.C. United and the Montreal Impact.
“They can mix it up,” said Friedel, noting the midfield pairing of Alejandro Bedoya and Haris Medunjanin as key for the Union. “They can play different styles – they can play direct, and they can also sit back and hit you on the counter, and they can also try to play possession.”
Past Meetings: Revs aiming to end recent hex at Talen Energy Stadium
While the Revs dominated this series between 2013 and 2015 – going 5-2-0 in a seven-game stretch – there’s little doubt that the Union have claimed the upper hand in recent years.
Philly have won six of the last seven regular-season meetings between these two sides, including all three matchups last year. That stretch includes four straight Union wins in Chester, all by shutout, as the Revs have been outscored 9-0 on their last four visits to Talen Energy Stadium.
“They were a thorn in our side last season, that’s for sure,” said Friedel. “The games all went in their direction, but they were very even games. They could’ve gone either way.”
“They’re good at home, and we have to be able to match that,” said Cody Cropper. “We have to focus, really, on ourselves and on our game, regardless of who the opponent is. It’s obviously difficult playing on the road, but this past weekend we proved that we can go and we can score goals, and we can grind out results. That’s exactly what we’re going to have to do.”
Injury Report: Revs shorthanded on backline; Philly potentially down to third-choice GK
New England could be without as many as four defenders for Saturday night’s visit to Philadelphia. Anibaba and Bye will both serve one-game suspensions after being sent off last weekend in KC, while Michael Mancienne (plantar fasciitis) and Antonio Delamea (concussion protocol) are both question marks.
Should both Mancienne and Delamea be unavailable, the Revs would be left with three healthy, available defenders on the roster – Edgar Castillo, Andrew Farrell, and Gabriel Somi – and the players know that a team effort will be needed to battle through the potential adversity.
“Everybody has to pick each other up in certain moments,” said Farrell. “Guys playing out of position, guys dealing with injuries and stuff in games – everybody has to step up that little extra, so we can help the team get a good result.”
Philadelphia, meanwhile, could be without their top two goalkeepers as Andre Blake was sidelined by a slight groin tear two weeks ago, before backup Matthew Freese suffered an abdominal injury in the Union’s midweek win over FC Cincinnati.
Carlos Miguel Coronel played the final 49 minutes of that victory, and the 22-year-old Brazilian is yet to concede a goal in 139 minutes of action this season.
Final Thoughts: Rookie winger Jones aims to “grow as a player each and every day”
“I think it’s all about mentality,” rookie DeJuan Jones said after scoring his first professional goal last weekend. “[I’m] just going into practice every day looking to get better, help my teammates get better, and just grow as a player each and every day.
“No matter what the circumstances are in terms of playing time, [I’m] just trying to get better every day and help the team in any way I can.”