Match previews / Union

Match preview: Philadelphia Union vs New England Revolution

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Who: Philadelphia Union (8-6-8, 32 points – 5th in East) vs New England Revolution (15-4-4, 49 points – 1st in East)

What: MLS Regular Season

Where: Subaru Park, Chester, Pennsylvania

When: Friday, September 3rd, 7:30pm

Watch: PHL17, ESPN+

Whistle: Not available at time of publication

Despite the international window forcing breaks in leagues around the world, MLS action continues Friday night as the New England Revolution travel to Chester to face the Philadelphia Union. It hasn’t been long since they two sides last met, a 2-1 Revolution win in the beginning of August, but available personnel will be much different this time around. New England will be missing 3 starters and Philadelphia is missing 7, both due to international call ups.

Scouting Report: New England Revolution

The Revolution come into Subaru Park looking to start a new streak, as their 9 game unbeaten run was ended by New York City last Saturday. New England already has holds a 3 game unbeaten streak against Philadelphia, with 2 wins and a draw.

Spurring the visitors to the best league record is their potent attack. The Revs sport 3 players who have contributed 12 goals or more on the season. Carles Gil leads the line, but it remains to be seen if he will make his return from injury in this match. Gustavo Bou is expected to start in attack as his strike partner Adam Buska is away with Poland for World Cup qualifiers. Expect Teal Bunbury to take Buska’s starting spot in the lineup.

In the back, New England has also been very strong. They’re allowing 1.2 goals a game and centerbacks Henry Kessler and Andrew Farrell have been a consistently strong pairing. Dangerous right-back Tajon Buchanan will not be with the team after receiving with a call up the Canadian national team. Usual net-minder Matt Turner is away with the US, so expect Brad Knighton to get the start in goal.

In the midfield, the timeliness Tommy McNamara will likely run things in the center of the pitch, looking to spring attacks forward with Carles Gil. Maciel is also a consistent starter for the midfield, putting out defensive fires and linking play in the midfield.

Injury Report: Luis Caicedo – OutCarles Gil – Probable, Brandon Bye – Questionable

International Duty: Matt Turner, Adam Buska, Tajon Buchanan

Scouting report: Union

Philadelphia comes into this match against the league leaders on a bad run of form, only winning twice in their last 8 league matches while posting a record of 2-3-3. The Union have also been hit hard by international call ups, as 7 players will be away. To make matters worse, starting center back Jack Elliott is suspended due to yellow card accumulation.

Coach Jim Curtin admitted his squad would struggle to dress 20 players in this match.

Up front the Union’s attack has gone cold as a striker has not produced a goal since a 3-0 win over Toronto almost a month ago. Kacper Przybylko should start since Cory Burke is away with Jamaica and Sergio Santos is coming back from injury. It remains to be seen what role Matheus Davo will play, as he has not appeared since arriving on loan.

It will be a reshuffled midfield from their last outing as well, since Daniel Gazdag, Jamiro Monteiro and Jose Martinez are all representing their countries. Alejandro Bedoya is questionable with injury, making Leon Flach the only returning starter from last weekend. The Union will look to their bevy of young homegrowns – Quinn Sullivan, Jack McGlynn, Paxten Aaronson and Anthony Fontana – to help replace their starters.

In the back, Philadelphia will also see some reshuffling. Both of their options at right back in Olivier Mbaizo and Alvas Powell are away with their national teams. Matt Real or homegrown Nathan Harriel could appear in their place, or the Union could go three at the back with Jacob Glesnes, Stuart Findlay and Kai Wagner. In goal expect Matt Freese to get another start as Andre Blake is away with Jamaica as well.

Injury Report: Ilsinho – Out, Alejandro Bedoya – Questionable, Sergio Santos – Probable

Suspension Report:  Jack Elliott

International Duty: Andre Blake, Alvas Powell, Cory Burke, Daniel Gazdag, Olivier Mbaizo, Jamiro Monteiro, Jose Martinez

Key Matchup Youth vs Leaders

There’s no doubt Philadelphia will be putting out a young lineup tonight against the league leaders, one without much experience. A youthful lineup held their own last time out against New England, and a possible home boost could make this match interesting.

Player to Watch: Matt Freese

In limited action this season, Freese hasn’t made a big save for his team and has given up a few soft goals. Philadelphia will need the keeper to have a strong game, as he may be busy.

Prediction:  Philadelphia 0 – 2 New England

The league leaders are too much for a short handed Philadelphia, whose attack will still struggle to get much going.

Philadelphia = +135
New England = +190
Draw = +270


  1. Jair Marrufo is on the whistle.
    Did anyone else think the USMNT last night had a very similar attack as the Union? Ineffectual cross after ineffectual cross. Stats say they had 2 shots on goal but that’s 2 more than I remember.
    Once again, Blake gave up 2 goals at Azteca.
    I understand why this game is tonight given that it was originally scheduled within a day or two of the Union’s CCL game. But why the f**k are there 7 other MLS games this weekend? MLS is an absolute bulls**t league.

    • Chris Gibbons says:

      Remember, all these different competitions are still smushed together because of last year. Lots of catching up to do to make up for lost time.

      That said, the league seems to make little effort to schedule around international breaks. Several years ago, that probably didn’t matter much since few players were getting called up. These days though – and my goodness can you imagine telling yourself in 2014 the Union would have 7 GUYS being called into national team camp and we’d still be unhappy?? – it’s quite the different problem.

      • It’s scary that the Union have 7 players out but the best team in the league only has 3.
        Part of the problem is that MLS has an odd number of teams which means that they need to schedule extra match days. Again, it shows the league is a joke as there was absolutely no need to add Austin this year unless there was another team ready to join them.

      • Issue last night was the opposite. The striker (Sargent) was the problem not the service. He was from a movement perspective MIA and when he did get a chance made remedial mistakes (shanking volleys, tripping over ball, taking extra touch to put ball on favored foot hence eliminating opportunities). Wasn’t this game a reschedule because of the Club America game here?

    • *Sigh*
      Between the Covid shortened season (starting a 6 weeks later than usual), Concacaf going full Concacaf and expanding their WCQ, mother nature and CCL forcing games to be rescheduled there are numerous reasons for there being 7 MLS games this weekend. Also, these games aren’t scheduled without the teams permission. The teams playing this weekend CHOSE to play now rather then add more midweek games to their already congested schedule.

  2. LA Galaxy are also missing 7 internationals according to the MLS website.

  3. Just saw this on MLS’s webpage:
    “ Orlando City add MLS Pool goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh amid absences”
    So is he no longer with the Union? We’re down to Freese and Bendik?

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