Match previews / Union

Match preview: Philadelphia Union vs New England Revolution

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Who: Philadelphia Union (#1 seed) vs New England Revolution (#8 seed)
What: 2020 MLS Playoffs
Where: Subaru Park, Chester PA
When: Tuesday, November 24, 8:00 p.m.
Watch: ESPN
Whistle: Joseph Dickerson, ARs: Kathryn Nesbitt, Adam Wienckowski, Fourth Official: Fotis Bazakos, VAR: David Gantar

The Philadelphia Union’s first playoff match of 2020 has finally arrived, as they will wrap up the first round of games, facing the New England Revolution once again on Tuesday night.

These two teams are no strangers with one another meeting 4 times in the regular season, resulting in 3 Union wins and 1 draw. These teams have also meet in an elimination playoff style match at MLS is Back in Orlando, with the Union taking a 1-0 win.

Scouting report: New England

Most Philadelphia fans will not need another preview of what Bruce Arena and the Revolution bring to the table, with this being the sixth meeting of the year. Nevertheless, there are some changes for the Revs since they last met the Union in early November.

New England was without playmaker Carles Gil for most of the season, although he did start and go the full 90 in the regular season finale against the Union. The other offensive star who was getting back into fitness the last time these two teams met was Gustavo Bou, who played 77 minutes in the regular season finale. Bou and Gil are the main reason New England advanced over Montreal last Friday night, combining for a stoppage time winner. The other man in attack is Adam Buska, who’s had a rough start to life in MLS in his first season. Buska has tallied 6 goals and 2 assists in his 23 games this year, none of which came against the Union. Overall in their 5 matches against Philadelphia, New England has only tallied 2 goals, both coming in 2-1 losses.

In the back, New England has remained fairly consistent throughout the year. Matt Turner will be in net, who has had a stellar year, finishing second in Goalkeeper of the Year behind Andre Blake. The centerback pairing of Andrew Farrell and Henry Kessler should be the starters, with Alexander Buttner on the left  and Brandon Bye lining up on the right. Overall the New England defense has been fairly stout this year, only allowing 2 or more goals 7 times in their 25 games, with Philadelphia accounting for 3 of those games with 2 goals in each.

Finally in the midfield, except the trio of Scott Caldwell, Teal Bunbury and Tajon Buchanan. Buchanan and Bunbury will look to get forward into the attack and help Bou and Gil create chances. Caldwell will operate more like Jose Martinez for the Union, looking to put out defensive fires and slow down counter attacks.

Scouting report: Philadelphia Union

It’s been just over 2 weeks since the Union were last on the field with the Revolution, which ended with them raising the Supporter’s Shield. In some more good news for Philadelphia, Andre Blake has been removed from the injury report and has practiced fully for the past 3 days, he will be starting in goal tonight. Jamiro Monteiro will also be available coming back from international break, taking a charter flight to avoid quarantine rules. Olivier Mbazio will not be in the squad after flying commercially back from international break, he is currently in quarantine.

With the news of Blake’s return, the only change that should come in the Union starting XI will be Blake returning in net with Freese sliding to the bench. Cory Burke has also emerged as a real threat off the bench, securing the second goal for the Union the last time these two teams met. Having Monteiro back is also crucial for the Union, allowing them to keep together what may be the best midfield in MLS. It also adds more attacking options on the bench with Anthony Fontana able to come in late in the game if searching for a goal.

Key matchup: Union mindset

This is going to be a mental battle for the Union. How they respond to winning the Supporter’s Shield and now being the favorite in the playoffs will be a big test for this team. It is well documented that they can be beat this Revolution side, but keeping their energy and emotions in check will help the side get through.

Prediction: Philadelphia 2-1 New England

Going with the same scoreline as two previous matchups between these teams. The Revs are starting to get stronger and more healthy in attack, while Philadelphia has their strongest XI available to them. The Union shouldn’t get too confident about their previous victories over New England, the playoffs are a different intensity and Philadelphia will have to match a New England side who is looking for an upset.


  1. It’s not fun to play the same guys 6 times. But I think Jim Curtin will have them focused on doing what they need to do – play their game and play to win.

  2. So happy that we can attend this match! I was not sure we could after last weekend when Philly closed things down and then hearing nothing until yesterday when tickets were released. Fingers crossed that the Union keeps on winning and that we can continue to go to the games; both of these are uncertain….

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