Match previews

Match preview: Philadelphia Union vs New England Revolution

Photo: Howie Pollard

Who: Philadelphia Union (9-9-2, 36 points) vs. New England Revolution (6-7-6, 25 points)

What: 2022 MLS Regular Season (Week 21)

Where: Subaru Park, Chester, PA

When:  July 16, 2022 at 7:30 PM (Eastern)

Watch: PHL17

Whistle: Referee: Rubiel Vazquez, Assistant Referees: Adam Wienckowski, Jeffrey Swartzel 4th Official: Lucas Szpala. VAR: Rosendo Mendoza 

They’re not going to score seven goals every game, but Wednesday night Philadelphia Union did get that elusive second goal and rode it to their second straight win, putting them back on top of the Eastern Conference.  

It was nice to see the Union dominate two bottom dwellers in D.C, United and Miami, but as they come home on Saturday night they will face a more formidable challenge in the New England Revolution.  Kickoff will be at 7:30 PM (or so).

This is the second of two matches against New England this campaign.  The two teams last met on May 28th.  New England had the Union back on their heels all game but could only muster a single goal off a PK.  The Union were able to salvage a tie late on a Uhre goal off a missed clearance.  

Overall the Union leads the series with 17 wins, 8 draws and 8 losses.

Scouting Report: New England

Following the de rigueur run of bad play while in the midst of a Concacaf Champions League run the Revolution have turned it around a bit.  Unbeaten in ten straight until last Saturday’s loss to NYC FC, New England has climbed to ninth place and sit just one point below the playoff line.  

The Revolution have accomplished this even with the loss of two of their top players.  Goalkeeper Matt Turner now works out of North London with Arsenal and Adam Buska is nibbling cheese with RC Lens.

But they still have two remaining stars. Forward Gustave Bou was injured early in the season but he now leads the team with six goals. The team’s best player and reigning MLS MVP, midfielder Carles Gil, is having another superior season. Tied for the MLS lead in assists with ten and leading in key passes, he is also great on the ball and had four goals himself. A fun player to watch.

Under coach Bruce Arena, New England has kept their tactics consistent. They  spread the field wide, create space in an effort to stretch the defense while 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.  

New England has been generous in giving up goals, allowing 32 in 19 matches. 

Injury Report:   Out: None

Suspended: Andrew Farrell

Scouting report: Philadelphia Union

The Union come into this game on short rest, unlike New England who had no midweek game.  The legs may feel a bit less heavy as the previous matches allowed for some rotations and substitutions.  

The Union should be able to field their top XI.  Nathan Harriel will return on the right side after being spelled by Olivier Mbaizo on Wednesday – nice to see that Mbaizo has regained the coach’s confidence. The only real question is at defensive back.

Jack Elliott missed Wednesday’s game due to a bad knee – we have been told it is not serious.  As of this writing it is unknown what his status is for Saturday.  If he is unable to play, the expectation is that Stuart Findlay will stick around for his Union swan song before returning to the U.K.  

The Union have given up a league best 14 goals in 20 matches (seven better than second best).  An amazing feat and with this level of defense they will be in every game.  The question remains, can they score consistently.  Nine goals in the last two games says yes – and as the pairing of Uhre and Carranza bears fruit, the Union should be off and running.

Injury Report: Out: 

Suspended: None

Key Matchup:  Carles Gil vs Jose Martinez

A classic matchup with the best #10 going against the best #6. 

Player to Watch: Mikael Uhre

Seemingly back in form and matched up with his permanent teammate Julian Carranza, Uhre is poised to break out.

Prediction:  Philadelphia 2-1 New England
Moneyline: 

Philadelphia Union:   -110

New England:           +275

Draw +250

Finally, some respect.

9 Comments

  1. Andy Muenz says:

    Once again, MLS shows its incompetence by having 11 midweek games rather than 14, giving teams an advantage based on amount of rest. No need for this to happen in a league with an even number of teams (and no special cases such as CCL).

  2. Remember how New England ended up with that German import after Chicago had done all the work to get him over here?
    .
    Robert Krapf is an original owner and has had extremely deep pockets from the get go. I imply nothing untoward. I simply ask how many times might he have helped the league solve problems back when it was being born and then raised from being a toddler?

  3. IMO, it is not just Uhre and Carranza, it is Uhre, Carranza and Gazdag playing one touch together as a tight trio in the central channel.
    .
    Unless you pressure that combination effectively AND pressure Martinez to impede his distribution, you will have problems.
    .
    If you do neither, as DC did not in the first half in Chester recently, you will surrender lots of goals.

    • McMohansky says:

      This point is worth considering. Wagner rightly gets attention for assists and generally initiating attacks but the consistency and solidity of the spine is probably what affords him the time and space to deliver quality balls into dangerous spots.
      Both center backs and the dcm look for penetrating passes. The quick, one touch, eye-pleasing passes we’ve been treated to from the front three is an extension of the poise and confidence of that rearguard.

  4. Murphthesurf says:

    Just Win Baby ! DOOP ⚽️!

  5. I have to agree with the 2-1 Union win prediction. I think they’re riding high off the last two wins and the Carranza signing and will play with confidence. I hope that translates into increased possession numbers and great passes from the defensive middle three.
    .
    If the Union keep it tied or take an early lead, I think Flach could be involved in more attacks. My guess would be Gil scores for New England in the second half but Gazdag will score in the first half and Uhre will get the game winner in the second half. Then we’ll see the Fantastic Four, or a subset, come on in the second half to see it out. If Uhre doesn’t get the game winner, I think Paxten may score it.

  6. Offtopic, slightly; Ernst Tanner got dinged by MLS for talking to a German soccer magazine at the underhanded way LAFC got Bale:

    inquirer.com/soccer/ernst-tanner-philadelphia-union-new-england-revolution-20220716.html

    The fine was not disclosed.

  7. PaulContinuum says:

    Ernst Tanner was fined by MLS for talking to a German soccer magazine at the underhanded way LAFC got Bale:

    inquirer.com/soccer/ernst-tanner-philadelphia-union-new-england-revolution-20220716.html

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