Match previews / Union

Match preview: Philadelphia Union vs New England Revolution

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

Who: Philadelphia Union vs. New England Revolution

What: MLS Regular Season

Where: Subaru Park, Chester, Pennsylvania

When: Wednesday, May 12th 7:30 p.m.

Watch: PHL17, ESPN+

Whistle: Not available at publication.

It’s the first mid-week action of the young 2021 MLS season, and Philadelphia and New England will be facing off for the seventh time in about a ten-month span. Of those previous six matchups, four were in the MLS regular season with Philadelphia taking three wins and a draw. One came in the MLS Is Back tournament Round of 16, a 1-0 Philadelphia win. But the most recent meeting came in the MLS playoffs, with New England pulling off the upset of the Union at Subaru Park, where they were previously undefeated.

Scouting Report: New England Revolution 

New England had gotten out to a strong start to the MLS 2021 season, posting a record of 2-0-1 in their first 3 games. Last week out against Nashville however, they picked up their first defeat of the year, losing 2-0. The Revs recent lost shouldn’t reflect a drop in form however, as New England hasn’t lost back to back games under Bruce Arena’s coaching stint.

The Revs also have a strong attack to start the season, as Carlos Gil has returned to full fitness and has gained chemistry in running central midfield. Running the attack, Gil often feeds strikers Gustavo Bou and Adam Buska, with Bou being the more prolific scorer over the past season. Buska should not be underestimated though, as he provides an aerial threat and a strong shot.

New England also returns almost the same starting back four as last year’s playoff win in Chester. Andrew Farrel and Henry Kessler are the pairing in the center of defense, while Tajon Buchanan provides an offensive threat on the right side.

Matt Turner will also be looking to prove something in goal tonight. He saw a strong 2020 season be upstaged by Andre Blake in the Philadelphia goal, who ultimately took home MLS Goalkeeper of the Year.

Injury Report: Luis Caicedo – Out, Emmanuel Boateng – Questionable, Christian Mafla – Questionable, Collin Verfurth – Questionable

Suspension Report: None

Scouting report: Union

It has been a rough start at home for the Philadelphia Union in 2021. In the two home league matches this year for the Union, both ended in defeat. Philadelphia will want to make Subaru Park a fortress again, as their home record proved vital to their Supporters Shield championship last year.

It will be interesting to see who Philadelphia will decide to start as their starting striker pairing, as Cory Burke scored in his last start, and Sergio Santos has proved lively off the bench. Kacper Przybylko has been a consistent starter, but hasn’t seemed to be able to find the back of the net in league play like he has in Champions League.

In the midfield expect Leon Flach to again occupy the defensive midfield role with Jose Martinez still suspended. Flach will be tested this match, as New England will pose a much tougher test than the Chicago Fire. Jamiro Monteiro should be leading the diamond once again after a strong showing over the weekend, with captain Alejandro Bedoya occupying the right midfield role. It remains to be seen if Jack McGlynn will get another start on the left midfield, or will Anthony Fontana have a chance to prove he belongs in the starting XI again.

In the back the Union should be unchanged from the weekend after keeping a clean sheet. Olivier Mbazio had a strong showing as did Kai Wagner. An injury to Stuart Findlay should also see Jack Elliott and Jacob Glesnes continue as the center back pairing.

Injury Report: Jack De Vries – Out, Ilsinho – Out, Stuart Findlay – Questionable

Suspension Report:  Jose Martinez

Key Matchup Union Mentality

Philadelphia is winless in two league matches at home so far this season, and the team who knocked them out of the playoffs is up next. The team will know how important it is to get back to winning ways on their home field, but can they do it against a good New England side.

Player to Watch: Leon Flach 

Flach did well in his only appearance for Philadelphia as a defensive midfielder, but can he keep his form? The position he will be occupying is very important to Philadelphia’s defensive structure, the New England offensive will be quite the test.

Prediction:  Philadelphia 1 -1 New England Revolution 

Most of these games last year were close and cagey affairs. Something similar will be probably play out tonight, with Jack Elliott canceling out an Adam Buska goal.


  1. el Pachyderm says:

    I still have visions of Kai Wagner Ole Ole Ole second gol against…. when they needed a really important stop…. a chance to find a needed toe hold and get their legs back under them in that game. Giving up the first goal was disappointing but understandable. That second goal….
    …….Angostura Bitters, in the mouth.

  2. The Union Jack says:

    Wagner got schooled in the playoff game last year. Needs to redeem himself tonight.

  3. Andy Muenz says:

    Tori Penso is on the whistle. Anyone sitting near the fourth official should feel free to give it to him. It’s Silviu Petrescu. I believe the last time he worked a Union game was the one in Atlanta where Ale and Haris both got sent off.

  4. Not sure what is up with Fontana not getting starts. Just wondering if there is an issue with mentality. Or attitude that fans are not privy to…

    • I think he’s just not quite good enough as a midfielder in this system. Maybe that’s unfair. Maybe the system just doesn’t suit him. His shifts at the 10 have not been memorable. Lots of running, not a lot of time on the ball.

      I like him as a second striker and would use him more often, but he’s not going to get starts over Santos or Przbylko. I like the kid a lot and think he has a tremendous shot. I felt that way about Alberg, too (though I like Fontana more). Sort of lost a lot, but if he gets the ball at his feet anywhere in or around the box, look out.

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