Match previews

Match preview: New England Revolution v. Philadelphia Union

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

Who: New England Revolution (11-3-4, 37 points, 1st place in the East) vs. Philadelphia Union (7-4-7, 28 points, 3rd place in the East)

What: 2021 MLS Regular Season

Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA

When: Sunday, 6:00 p.m.

Watch: PHL17, ESPN+ (out of market)

Whistle: Armando Villarreal; AR: Kevin Klinger & Matthew Nelson; 4O: Joshua Encarnacion; VAR: Jorge Gonzalez

The Philadelphia Union travel to Foxborough Sunday evening to clash with the first place New England Revolution.   The Union will look to build off their strong, mid-week 3-0 thumping of Toronto FC, while the Revs try to get back in the win column after a scoreless draw with Nashville SC at home.

These teams last met on May 12th in Chester, with the game ending in a 1-1 draw thanks to Kacper Przybylko’s late equalizer.

Scouting Report: New England Revolution

The Revs started their 2021 MLS campaign off on a strong foot and haven’t looked back since.  They’ve clearly been the best in the Eastern Conference thus far.

On Wednesday, four Revs players were named to the MLS All-Star Team: forward Gustavo Bou, midfielder Tajon Buchanan, midfielder Carles Gil, and goalkeeper Matt Turner.

Carles Gil has been the most productive player in MLS this season. However the league leader in assists is to miss three-plus weeks due to a sports hernia.

Those who watched the USMNT’s run through the CONCACAF Gold Cup need no introduction to Matt Turner.  He was instrumental in leading the U.S to the title; being named the tournament’s Best Goalkeeper, having conceded only one goal (zero from open player).

Forward Gustavo Bou’s 10 goals this year are second in MLS only to Seattle’s Raul Ruidiaz.   His combined 13 goals and assists sit second only to teammate Carles Gil (17).

Lastly, Tajon Buchanan, who, while playing for Canada in the Gold Cup was named the tournament’s Best Young Player, currently has three goals and three assists in his 12 appearances with New England this season.  He emerged as a breakout player last year during the MLS Cup Playoffs, during which he scored the game-winning goal against the Union in the Quarterfinals.  According to MLS Insider Tom Bogert, the Revs are close to finalizing a deal which would send the young star to Belgian side Club Brugge.

This New England team is loaded with talent and the Union will have their work cut of for them. However, the absence of Carles Gil is a huge blow to the Rev’s offensive engine.

Injury Report

Out: Luis Caicedo (lower body)

Out: Jon Bell (lower body)

Scouting Report: Philadelphia Union

The Union ended a poor run of form with a dominant 3-0 win against Toronto on Wednesday at Subaru Park.  The game saw the team provide an offensive spark which fans had been waiting on for quite some time, including newcomer Daniel Gazdag’s first goal for the Union.

With the upcoming semifinal, first leg match against Club America looming on Thursday, head coach Jim Curtin will have important decisions to make as to who to feature in Sunday’s starting line-up.

Wednesday’s match against Toronto saw only one change from their previous match, with Sergio Santos replacing Cory Burke up top.  It will be surprising if Curtin doesn’t make more changes to lineup come Sunday in order to rest starters for Thursday.

Quinn Sullivan, Jack McGlynn, and Paxten Aaronson all saw action during Wednesday’s match; one or more these three should see extended minutes come Sunday.

Additionally, the back the four hasn’t gotten rest all year.  Is this game we finally see a start from Stuart Findlay? With the offensive weapons that New England possess, including the 6′ 3″ forward Adam Buksa, Curtin may be hard pressed to make any changes to what has been, for the most part, a solid Union back line.

It’s tricky balancing act.  The CCL match against Club America is arguably the most important match in club history.  However, a win Sunday evening would pull the Union to within six points of the Revs, and put them back into the Supporters’ Shield conversation.

Injury Report

Out: Alves Powell (hamstring)

Questionable: Jack DeVries (concussion protocol)

Questionable: Anthony Fontana (concussion protocol)

Key Match-Up: Union outside back vs  Bou and Buchanon

Even with Gil out with an injury, this will be a tough challenge for the Union to record a consecutive clean-sheet.  Oliver Mbaizo and Kai Wagner, whom was just named to the MLS All-Star team,  will need to bring their A-games to keep New England off the board.

Player to Watch: Andrew Farrell

Rev’s center-back Andrew Farrell had a solid outing on Wednesday night, helping limit Nashville to only two shots on target; he’ll be a tough test for the Union forwards.

Prediction: New England 1 – 1 Philadelphia


  1. Chris Gibbons says:

    Gil being out is a big deal. If they can contain Buchanan with a bit of a double team, they might be able to neutralize the NE attack.

  2. el Pachyderm says:

    I’d take the point.
    along with…continued good play.

    • For discussion sake, would you take a loss if McGlynn, Sullivan and Aaronson started? (And they played “well”, but maybe not offensively dangerous.)

      I think I’d be happier with that, rather than if Curtin just roles out Wednesday’s lineup.

      • In Tanner We Trust says:

        Yep, play the kids, hope they look good. Take the positives and negatives.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        I too would love to see those kiddos get a full 90 minutes together. Likely against the NE Revolution the outcome may not be ideal, but I’d be happy to sit and enjoy it and be as nonjudgmental as possible with the outcome.

      • Toronto was my first in person game this year. I have watched them faithfully forever but live in Florida now. The young guys are not ready to start at all . They a re way to physically immature and would be injured for sure if they played as starters. I watched 5them closely in the Toronto game. They did not challange anyone for a 50 50 ball and probably should not if they want to continue their careers.

      • Aaronson and McGlyn would not survive the game. I mean that literally.

      • Thank YOU Joe B.

        Someone had to say it. Seriously… the Kiddie Corp is not even close to being ready… nor should they be, Meer children literally in a league of men. Its nice to show everyone what the Union PROCESS is developing… but seriously, we play America in Mexico City, mile in the air… and if the first half team shows up, we might escape with a tie. If any other team shows up, we’ll get smoked.

      • To JOe b’s points I would add that they are not anywhere close to 90 minutes match fit for the first team’s level.
        My hope would be to see the trio get 30 minutes together. To me that is a much more realistic goal.
        And I will add that Paxten Aaronson defending against Toronto was challenging for the ball in the press with the same anticipation as the Aaronson who is now playing in Austria. That defense will get him MLS minutes as long as Jim Curtin is the coach and Ernst Tanner is the Sporting Director.

      • Well I guess Seattle must have steroids in the water for them to be able to start 5 teenagers and get the win. Maybe they have a better weight lifting program.
        As I say above, the outcome isn’t important if they start. It’s about the learning experience. Even if they get run over a few times in the process. I never said I expected them to go 90. I think 60 though would be a fair expectation, and provide a break for the starters.
        The kids go against men everyday in practice. They all spent at least 9 games or more in the USL playing against men. Sure the level is below MLS standards, but they have to learn sometime. If Seattle, and the rest of the world can do it, why can’t the Union? Sorry, I don’t find value in any of your arguments against them starting. It’s just making excuses.

      • In Tanner We Trust says:

        Exactly. Sullivan and McGlynn have already started, and people act like there are no big dudes in USL or whatever the lower league is called nowadays. No excuses, get Sullivan and McGlynn a combined 100 minutes and ideally another 20-30 for Paxten.

  3. Did I miss it or was there zero conversation about rescheduling this match? It would have been a nice gesture from NE. Who here thinks there’s a chance Coach sends out a reserve squad for sixty minutes?

    • I didn’t see anything concerning rescheduling the match.
      Are we talking hope, or actual belief? I hope Curtin rotates heavily. Have we ever seen that though without major injuries? I’ll believe it when I see it.

    • on paper, and if we were playing well, i’d have taken a reschedule. now, i think we need it. two things: confidence and squad rotation. without the compressed schedule, we may not have the opportunity to gain and play the kids.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      They rescheduled next weekend’s match in Cincinnati to the international break in October and also rescheduled the home match in September against New England to the September international break.

    • The other aspect of rescheduling is that there are few, or no, holes into which to fit it moving forward.
      October is densely packed and late august/earlySeptember has the international window for the beginning of the regional confederations’ next rounds of World Cup qualifying. And keep in mind that that window and October’s will have three matches in each window in some confederations, not just two, which means more players will likely recalled into camp so that the 23 man rosters for each game can be rotated.

  4. In Tanner We Trust says:

    So today I learned Transfermarkt views Davo as a Union player. It said the deal took place July 27 lol

  5. Ben OBrien says:

    According to Carles Gil was training to the side of the rest of the team today, and it sounds like Bruce Arena hasn’t officially ruled him out for Sunday.

  6. Any word on JM?

  7. Toronto was my first in person game this year. I have watched them faithfully forever but live in Florida now. The young guys are not ready to start at all . They are way to physically immature and would be injured for sure if they played as starters. I watched them closely in the Toronto game. They did not challange anyone for a 50 50 ball and probably should not if they want to continue their careers. Just too frail to survive 90. Minutes. The senior players who were on the field at the end of the game received all passes if there was a chance of body contact. Quinn Sullivan is the only youngster who might survive a full game with some luck.

    • Dead agree fella. They’re teenagers and tiny too. I’m sure the kids are fit but have zero muscle mass. Our bench is so limited talent wise. No Fontana hurts which I’m still not sure what exactly happened with him. Ilsinho is about my age which doesn’t help either. Who are the 20-24 year olds that can step it? Our subs are teenagers and senior citizens .

  8. Also read Buchannon was on his way out by Transfer. Is he in line-up?

  9. Andy Muenz says:

    If they do go with the “B” team, Curtin should plan to sub in Glesnes, Mbaizo, and Martinez for late game cameos (maybe 88th minute or so) so they can each get credit with a good behavior game. All are one yellow away from suspension.

    • In Tanner We Trust says:

      Great point! Any idea how close they all are to dropping out of danger? I know Mbaizo just picked up a yellow Wednesday so he’s on very thin ice.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Mbaizo and Glesnes both had yellow’s against Toronto so are 5 games away. I think Martinez is only 1 or 2 away from dropping a card.

  10. Aaronson and McGlyn would not survive the game. I mean that literally.

    • Well mr expert analyst we’re going to find out. Sullivan, McGlynn. and Aaronson are starting tonight. McGlynn has already started a few games this seasons too….and held his own in wins against Columbus and Chicago.

    • Dave Greene says:

      Two best Union players on the Field

      • And they “survived” the game too. Went the full distance…huh…..we were told that they couldn’t….that they were “not ready to start at all”

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