Match previews

Match preview: Philadelphia Union vs New England Revolution

Photo: Marjorie Elezey

Who: Philadelphia Union (2020: 5-2-3, 18 points) vs. New England Revolution (3-2-3, 14 points)

What: 2020 MLS Regular Season (Week 11)

Where: Subaru Park, Chester, PA

When: Saturday, September 12, 2020 at 7:30 p.m. (Eastern)

Watch: PHL 17

Whistle: Referee: Guido Gonzales; Assistant Referees: Claudio Badea, Tyler Wyrostek; 4th Official: Robert Sbiga; VAR: Jose Carlos Rivero 

After a comfortable Sunday night 3-0 win over the New York Red Bulls, the Philadelphia Union next play the New England Revolution for the third time in 2020 this Saturday.  The first game was in Orlando during the MLS is Back Tournament’s Round of 16.  The Union won that match 1-0 on a Sergio Santos goal.  Revs coach Bruce Arenas lost it on the referee after the final whistle thus disqualifying himself for the teams’ next match, this one played in Foxborough, MA, and ended in a 0-0 tie. This upcoming game marks the final fixture of the six-game MLS run following the Tournament. 

Scouting Report: Revolution

The Revolution’s season has been both promising and perhaps disappointing.  When Bruce Arena took over as coach mid 2019, the Revs turned their season around, including a stretch of 11 games without a loss and a spot in the playoffs.  For 2020 they added Designated Player Adam Buska while keeping 2019 Newcomer of the Year midfielder Carles Gil and forward Gustave Bou.  As the season progressed, Carles Gil is out for the year and, perhaps because of that loss, they have scored only nine goals this season.  On the flipside, they have only given up 9 goals (ditto for the Union) and find themselves in a precarious 5th place position in the East.

New England will spread the field wide, create space and stretch the defense  using a 4-4-2, which sometimes morphs into a 4-2-3-1.  Typically the Revolution will employ an aggressive press, try to win the ball back quickly and push the ball forward.  In prior matches against the Union, New England clogged the central passing lanes slowing the Union’s progress upfield and then falling into a low block 

Arena regularly rotates his players so they should be fresh – they had a week off too.  New England just brought back midfielder Lee Nguyen from Miami but he will not be eligible to play this week.

Injury Report:   Out: Luis Caicedo (m); Questionable: Carles Gil (m)

Scouting report: Union

The Union have been in good form of late with a couple of three-goal wins mixed in with a hard fought loss in Columbus.  They will have the luxury of a full week’s rest but it appears the compressed schedule has been rough as there are a number of players nicked up.

In manager Jim Curtin’s presser he, without naming names, said that there are numerous, minimal  injuries on the team, so we’ll have to wait and see who is and who is not available.  One of those question marks is Sergio Santos, who limped off the field during the Red Bull’s game with what appeared to be a hamstring injury. If he is unable to go we can expect to see Andrew Wooten who comes off a strong, two-assist game.

If history is a guide, New England will force the ball to the wings so with Kai Wagner almost certainly out, it will fall on whatever combination of Gaddis, Mbaizo, and Real is out there to move the ball up the field and start the attack.  The Union will have the full complement of their usual midfielders.  Martinez along with the centerbacks (probably Elliott and McKenzie) will need to stay organized especially if the wingbacks move up the field.  Oh, and Martinez will need to avoid a yellow.  

Injury Report: Out: Kai Wagner (d): Aurelien Collin (d) 

Key Matchup:  Union Wingbacks vs Revolution Defense

In the past, the Revolution has given Gaddis plenty of space, almost daring him to beat them.  If we can see the “August 25 vs Red Bulls” Ray Gaddis, the Revs will need a change of tactics.

Player to Watch: Jamiro Montiero

Montiero is always high energy with a lot of touches, completed passes, etc. but of late this activity has not accomplished too much . He left the last game early and went straight to the locker room.  With diminished hours and a full week’s rest he should be poised to have a quality game

Player to Watch – Part II:  Ilshino

Gonna break tradition and add a second one.  Ilsinho has not been overly effective in his traditional role as super-sub.  Whether it is because opposing teams have figured him out or he’s lost a step, he can not be counted on to come in late and score a goal through his combination of guile and foot skills.  Yet he is still great on the ball and knows how to play the game (see last game’s assist to Real for confirmation).  A switch to more of a play-maker’s role may suit him and the team better for the future.

Prediction:  Philadelphia 2-1 New England

Philadelphia Union:  +100

New England Revolution: +280

For you degenerate gamblers…Looks about right, but can someone explain Columbus vs Chicago at +130 and +185 respectively?


  1. In Tanner We Trust says:

    It’s crazy how comfortable I’m feeling with Wagner out. Boy is that a new feeling! Last year I’m pretty sure both 4-0 losses were in his absence. Between Mbaizo and Real stepping up, we should be fine. Good observations about Gaddis, hopefully he does his thing tomorrow night. And Monteiro just seems poised to break out. Can’t wait

  2. Looks like Ilsinho won’t be a man to watch tonight. The bench appears decimated with only 6 players including Bendik (Real, Fontana, De Vries, Turner, and Ngalina).

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