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Preview: Union v Revolution

Time: 8pm ET

Location: PPL Park, Chester, PA

TV: Galavision

At 4-11-11, the New England Revolution hold the worst record in the east. And they hold the ignominious honor of being the team the Union most thoroughly thrashed this season.

But with the transfer window, suspensions, and injuries, the team you face in September can be a lot different than the one you beat in July.

A stronger squad

Peter Nowak always said Carlos Ruiz was the first name on his team sheet. We never knew if he was serious or just trying to make a point. For Steve Nicol, the first name on the sheet is no joking matter. Shalrie Joseph.

Kyle Beckerman ran rampant on Saturday, and the Union need a better plan to contain Joseph. He is one of the most influential players in MLS and his absence in July was a big reason the Union waltzed through the Revolution midfield for 90 minutes.

Joseph will likely sit behind Benny Feilhaber or Pat Phelan. Feilhaber hit the showers early when these teams last met, and Philly will be doing their best to get under his skin from the opening whistle.

With Joseph and Ryan Cochrane returning to the lineup, the Revolution have a much stronger spine than they did in July. This could cause major problems for Philly if they continue to have only Danny Mwanga and… Danny Mwanga in the box for crosses. The Union will have to use their wings effectively to possess the ball in the final third, allowing more runners into dangerous areas.

When Keon Daniel has been absent, the Union have struggled to connect their fullbacks and wingers. A strong offensive performance from Sheanon Williams needs to be matched by good interplay between the starting Farfan and likely left mid Justin Mapp.

What else is different?

Aside from returning players, the Revs have a few new faces this time around. Designated Player Milton Caraglio scored two against New York on August 20th. He was actually called up to the Argentina national squad during Diego Maradona’s reign, but an injury forced him out. He will likely partner with Rajko Lekic, and both will receive service from new signing Monsef Zerka. Signed just before the originally scheduled Union-Revs matchup, Zerka has yet to feature in MLS play. He was used in a wide role in a reserve match against Toronto.

In the back

Carlos Valdes returns for the Union but Brian Carroll remains a doubt. [UPDATE: Brian Carroll’s status was updated to probable on WEdnesday afternoon.] Why was Gabe Farfan out of the starting eleven last game? Did anybody ask Mr. Nowak? Did I miss it? Stefani Miglioranzi could step up a few yards into the holding midfield role or Nowak could allow Amobi Okugo to continue. Okugo recovered from a tough start to show flashes of his box-to-box ability against Real Salt Lake. But Nowak has been reluctant to use him as a lone holding mid since his toe injury, and that could be an issue if the other center midfielder is…

Adu, Freddy Adu

He is a gifted creator, and the assumption is that he was brought in to fill the clear void the Union have at attacking midfield. Thus far, Adu has only fulfilled that old chess adage that ‘Knights on the rim are twice as dim.’ Meaning he has been pretty mehhh as a winger.

The only things that would keep Adu out of the starting eleven at this point are his fitness or a very real fear that Shalrie Joseph will manhandle him. And that’s no knock on Adu, it’s just what Joseph does to attacking mids. With that in mind, don’t be surprised to see Nakazawa on Wednesday night, as he has proven to be quite adept at playing a simple and specific man-marking role.

If neither Naka or Adu are in the starting eleven, you can go ahead and get your beers and snacks during Union corners and free kicks.

What all of this hemming and hawing tells us is that there is still no clear starting midfield for the Union.

Between the pipes

The big news is that Zac MacMath will make his first MLS start on Wednesday. With Faryd Mondragon out for a month, MacMath is the clear number one (the Union’s goalkeeping promo calls him “The Future” and Thorne Holder “The Wildcard”).

MacMath aggressively attacked corner kicks against RSL, and he will have to mix it up again against the 6’2″ Caraglio and omnipresent Shalrie Joseph.

Last time around

New England 0-3 Union

Goals: PHI – Carlos Ruiz (Keon Daniel, Justin Mapp) 12th minute; Carlos Valdes (Sebastien Le Toux, Kyle Nakazawa) 24th minute; Sheanon Williams (Danny Mwanga) 93+ minute

Yellow Cards: Feilhaber (49); Keon Daniel (71)

Red Cards: Feilhaber (66)

Probable lineups

Philadelphia (4-2-2-2)

MacMath; Williams; Valdes; Califf (c); Garfan; Le Toux; Nakazawa; Miglioranzi; Mapp; Paunovic; Mwanga

New England (4-4-2 diamond)

Reis; Alston; Cochrane; Soares; Tierney; Boggs; Joseph; Phelan; Feilhaber; Caraglio; Lekic

Likely subs

NE: Fagundez; Zerka

PHI: Pele; Crouch; Cruyff; random guess; whoknows


NE: OUT: Nyassi (R knee MCL sprain); QUESTIONABLE: Dube (whiplash), McCarthy (L shoulder subluxation); PROBABLE: Reis (L knee irritation), Caraglio (L groin strain), Alston (L hamstring irritation), Coria (L knee MCL sprain)

PHI: OUT: Houapeu (L ankle strain); DOUBTFUL: Carroll (R foot sprain); QUESTIONABLE: Marfan (L knee contusion)


NE: Kenny Mansally

Suspended after next caution

NE: Phelan

PHI: Califf; Carroll

International duty

PHI: Keon Daniel


  • The Union have never lost to New England (2-0-1)
  • Philly and New England have identical records since the beginning of July
  • The Revs haven’t been shut out since the Union blanked them on July 17
  • Since Fabian Espindola tied the match at 3 in the 83rd minute on July 4, the Revs have given up a goal in the final ten minutes of every match except one (a 1-0 win over DC on July 20)
  • In their last meeting, the Union had 7 shots on goal to New England’s 0
  • The Union are 5-1-6 at PPL Park, with no game being decided by more than one goal
  • The official pronunciation of “Thorne Holder” is “Thorn Holder”


You tell us.


  1. The Union signed Crouch?! I didn’t get the memo.

  2. If Migz starts tonight, i’m seriously going to go ape-shit. We are home, against a crap team – bring in Pfeffer, Richter, anyone – ANYONE – but Migz.

    • Not right time…Migs should get the start and we should field a strong team…we need 3 points no matter what from today.

      • Exactly why Migz shouldn’t start. We need to win. Play Okugo or Nakazawa as a holder. Hell, play Farfan. Migz is the worst player on the union.

        Marfan Adu Le Toux
        Danny Paunovic

      • Ultimately what Im pointing out is that I believe Migs is currently our best opition as our defensive midfield starter. Based on Okugo’s last performance, a start is undeserving and I hope your just kidding when you suggest we should start Nakazawa or Marfan at the defensive midfield position because thats just rediculous to suggest we should start either…I can see them wander too far forward out of position now.

  3. 3 points

  4. You just put Migz and “strong team” in the same sentence.


  5. Argh, the fact that it is near the end of our second season and we are still predicting lineups that include Miggy depresses me to no end.
    I would start Okugo over him 10 times out of him. Okugo looked fine last week. Miggy is literally a void whenever he plays in the midfield.
    Also not digging Nakazawa, yeah he is fine at what he does, but what he does does not involve bossing the midfield and being an engine to our attack. Which he would TOTALLY need to be if Miggy is starting next to him.
    I fear that if I look at the lineup and see Migg/Naka as out midfield pair, our offense is going to be invisible again and we are going lose. Why am I so confident? Because it has happened before.

    • Im not so sure we processed Okugo’s performance last game the same…I thought he was quite poor and looked out of sorts..even the PSP ranked him at a 4 last game and they usually rate everybody too high 🙂

      I actually think Adam’s lineup will get us a win and a lead by halftime against the Revs.

  6. Good news! Got a Twitter alert that Carroll has been upgraded to probable.

    I hope to god he starts so we can start someone with actual offensive talent next to him. Adu/Torres/Marfan need to start in the middle to allow use to play offense through the midfield.

    If not, we need to rely on Mapp/Le Toux bossing the flanks …. but I dont have much hope for that.

  7. If Carroll plays, I want to see this starting XI:
    Mapp————————-Le Toux
    G Farfan—Califf–Valdes—Williams

  8. Revs just scored.

    Even Twellman called out Miggy as being at fault.

    And this also isnt the first time he has been at fault for goals. Why is he starting again?

    Le Toux also blew two great chances early. Why has he played every minute htis season?

  9. Man was I WRONG bout startin Migs…

    • Haha thank you for admitting that. Worst part is most of us saw his “performance” coming. And for the first goal, Williams lost his man but Miggy did not pick up that free runner after.

      And I am sick and tired of Le Toux. I don’t care about his positives, at some point you need to look at pure stats. The man can’t finish. If he puts away any of those GREAT two early chances this game would not be 4-1. Same thing with Pauno.

      And playing a natural winger at LB has finally caught up to us. I blame Nowak for not finding a real LB.

      • Ed Farnsworth says:

        As far as admitting being sick and tired of Le Toux…

      • James…you are so wrong on Le Toux. Before this game and even more after it. He creates so many chances.

      • As for starting Migs…I ultimately stated that he was our best option at the time (was not aware that Caroll was fit). I dont belive we should ever go back to our two defensive mid formation.

        Le Toux is our MVP, no doubt!

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