Match previews / Soccer on TV / Union

Match preview: New England Revolution vs Philadelphia Union

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

Who: New England Revolution vs Philadelphia Union

What: MLS Cup Playoffs Round 1, Game 1

Where: Subaru Park, Chester, Pennsylvania

When: Saturday, October 28th, 5:00pm

Watch: Apple TV – MLS Season Pass

Whistle: REF: Pierre-Luc Lauziere; AR1: Nick Uranga; AR2: Oscar Mitchell-Carvalho; 4TH: Marcos DeOliveira; VAR: Edvin Jurisevic; AVAR: Fabio Tovar

A new era of the MLS Cup playoffs has arrived as the New England Revolution and Philadelphia Union will face off in a 3 game series, kicking off the new playoff format. Philadelphia will host the first game, with New England hosting the second and finally back to Philadelphia for the third (if necessary). There are no draws in the new format, if games are tied at the end of regulation they will go directly to penalties. Each side must win 2 games to advance to the next round.

Scouting Report: New England Revolution

After a strong start to the season, New England has been falling down the standings recently and hasn’t hit form heading into the playoffs. The Revs only have two wins the month of October. They will take comfort in the fact they beat Philadelphia just last week in a 2-1 win on Decesion Day. However, they suffered back to back defeats to playoff sides Columbus and Nashville in October as well.

It’s been goals by committee in the attacking third for New England recently. Gustavo Bou, Giacomo Vrioni and Bobby Wood have all featured heavily with Wood leading the scoring out of the group with seven goals. Last weekend, Bou found the net from open play and a penalty kick to tally both of New England’s goals. Feeding this trio is the always dangerous Carles Gil, who’s notched 11 goals himself on the year to go along with 14 assists.

Shielding the backline is recent England youth call-up Noel Buck, who plays in partnership with Canadian international Mark-Antony Kaye. Emmanuel Boateng provides speed on the wing and Tomas Chancalay is a goal threat on the right side.

In defense, New England has MLS veterans Dave Romney and Andrew Farrell forming the backline partnership. On the left is Matt Polster; recent USMNT call up DeJuan Jones is a an attacking threat on the right. In goal is Earl Edwards, who has taken over for the recently departed Djordje Petrovic.

Injury Report: OUT:  Dylan Borrero, Brandon Bye, Damian Rivera, Ian Harkes.

Scouting Report: Philadelphia Union

Philadelphia has been in decent form heading into the playoffs, posting one win and two draws with the aforementioned loss to New England over the course of October. The Union will be looking to avenge their defeat in New England and recapture the Subaru Park magic that led them to an MLS Cup appearance last year.

The attack will stay consistent with the trio of Julian Carranza, Mikael Uhre and Daniel Gazdag expected to start. Tai Baribo, Quinn Sullivan and Chris Donovan remain options off the bench.

The midfield will stay relatively consistent, with several healthy options to pick from for Jim Curtin. Soon to be departing Captain Alejandro Bedoya should be expected to start, while Jack McGlynn and Leon Flach can also be options there along with Daniel Gazdag. Jesus Bueno should also be an option after recovering from a recent injury. Philadelphia will be given more confidence as star midfielder Jose Martinez returns from suspension, providing a needed defensive and physical presence in the playoffs.

In defense, Jacob Glesnes is expected to start alongside Jack Elliott, but Damion Lowe is an option if rotation or an odd-numbered back line is needed. Kai Wagner will be on the left and Oliver Mbaizo will be on the right, with Andre Blake in goal.

Injury Report: None

Key Match-Up: Transition Attacks

Both sides in this matchup are built to play without the ball and quickly hit on the counter. With Wagner for Philadelphia and Jones for New England, expect quick rushes up the field from defense up into the attacking midfielders for both sides.

Player to Watch: Jose Martinez 

Martinez will be one of the few variables from last weekend’s matchup and will be a vital addition to the Philadelphia side. If he can keep composed and turn in a good outing, the Union will be tough to beat at home.

Prediction: Philadelphia 2-1 New England 

Philadelphia hasn’t lost at home in the playoffs recently, with their last defeat coming from a COVID depleted squad against NYCFC back in 2021. A home atmosphere is too much for New England to counter especially with Martinez rested and returning.


Philadelphia: -155

New England: +340

Draw: +310


  1. Great way for MLS to draw fans. Put playoff games behind a paywall.

  2. I don’t see what the benefit of this best of three format is. I don’t want to see us play the Revs three times in a row. I might be fine never see the U ever play the Revs again, to be honest. Especially at that cold, plastic football stadium. I know. I know. Apple wants more ‘games.’ Quantity at the expense of quality.

    I was so much more excited for the playoffs last season. I don’t know this time around. Don’t know.

  3. It’s all so boring. Leave it to US Soccer née MLS to fuck this all up… in an effort to make this completely unique game the same as all the others THINKING this is what the casual fan wants because the anaseptic casual fan is who matters the most.
    It’s not NFL. It’s not MLB. It’s not NBA. It’s not NHL.
    But sure as fuck you’re going to try to convince us it is. Suck a lemon US Soccer née MLS.

    • It’s definitely NOT NHL. NHL puts the random tiebreaker into the regular season but just plays the actual game in the playoffs.

    • Too many games in total. In the past year
      there have been too many meaningless games andtournaments
      It has has reduced the quality of soccer and put players health and long term careers in jeopardy. It’s not a good thing for soccer in the USA. Players and coaches can’t be happy. I think the Unions success last year has hurt them this year. Players have to be worn out. Too many meaningless in season tournaments and extra games have hurt the Union this year. ” Your reward for winning the most games is we are going to make you play more games” The result has been more injuries, too much travel and probably very little extra pay with all the extra work. Players should strike for better working conditions but they wont.

      • Just scanned through the CBA yesterday. A limit of 44 games total between regular season and playoffs combined. 38 + 6.
        That’s thru 2027.

    • The irony is that the move to Apple was chosen to appeal to dedicated soccer fans, not casuals
      The new playoff format screams casuals
      Which is it MLS??

  4. Why go to pens? Format should be: Team that draws one and wins one advances. Two draws or a win a piece goes to a third game, which ends in pens after extra time.

    • You don’t like the fact that a win and two draws can get you eliminated by a team with a loss and two draws?

    • Yeah it’s bizarre that there’s not at least extra time in the first round. Then the rest of the playoffs, there is extra time. This is all based on Apple of course. They wanted more games…but to compensate, they took away extra time. It should be first to 4 points if they’re going to do this format. Then, only game 3, could go extra time or pk’s, but what do I know smh.

  5. The three game opening playoff series is just another money grab by MLS… US Soccer has nothing to do with that.

    Don “Grabmoremoney” and his cohorts have destroyed this season (and league) for the loyal fans.

    For next year I cut back 1 seat (only 2 next season) and WILL NOT pay a dime extra for anything outside regular season and playoffs.

    This year was just a disgusting example of Grabmoremoney’s greed… on the backs of loyal fans who have attended & supported this team for 15+ years…. period.

    • How is the league supposed to improve if they don’t increase the level/amount of sponsorship revenue? ALL sports are for profit businesses. Where is all of the money supposed to come from in order to continually improve the league?
      Also, blame Jay Sugarman and the other owners. Specifically FCC who were upset that they didn’t have a home playoff game last season. THAT was the impetus for the change in format. The OWNERS wanted a home playoff game.

  6. If there’s one thing JC has learned over the past year or so, is to stop overthinking, tinkering, messing around with personnel and tactics.
    In our big games this year (CCL vs LA, Messi, Cincy to a degree), we’ve been killed by these ideas of throwing out a B lineup and hope to rest the stars as long as possible, or going 3 in the back, random sub patterns, or going into a shell… just play your game man, it’s good enough!
    As for expectations, just contain Gil and pepper this noob keeper.
    I like the 2-1 score prediction today

  7. Andy Muènz says:

    No Glesnes tonight.

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