Setting: Sunday, July 17 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.; kickoff scheduled for 7:06:30 PM Eastern
Broadcast Information: Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia (J.P. Dellacamera, Taylor Twellman, Bob Rigby) with coverage starting at 6:30 PM Eastern with a pre-game show / Comcast SportsNet New England and 98.5 The Sports Hub WBZ-FM (Brad Feldman, Jay Heaps, Damon Amendolara; Omar Cabrera in Spanish via SAP) in New England / MLS Direct Kick, MatchDay Live (CSN New England feed)
New England's Record: 3-8-7, ninth in East
New England's Last Match: T, 3-3 at Real Salt Lake
Philadelphia vs. New England Last Season: 1-0-1 (New England 1 @ Philadelphia 1 on July 31; Philadelphia 2 @ New England 1 on August 28)
For the New England Perspective, Visit The Bent Musket
The Philadelphia Union are back from a quick West Coast swing that saw them grab yet another critical road point in a 0-0 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes. Before their international friendlies against Everton and Real Madrid, however, they must complete their three-match road trip with a visit to Massachusetts to take on the New England Revolution. The Revs have seriously struggled once again this season, finding themselves at the bottom of the Eastern Conference; little seems to be working for them outside of consistently solid performances from goalkeeper Matt Reis.
Things will not get any easier for this Sunday for New England, who will be missing key components Shalrie Joseph due to a yellow card accumulation suspension and Ryan Cochrane due to red card suspension. While Philadelphia cannot get overconfident and take the Revs lightly, this Sunday's match provides an excellent opportunity to take three points on the road. And if they can get off to a fast start in terms of possession and dictating the match's tempo, it may not take very long for them to begin smelling blood in the water, so to speak.
But being able to control possession is pointless if you can't finish, as last week's frustrating match in San Jose showed. There have been very few matches this year in which the Union haven't been able to generate several top-quality chances, and once again, it comes down to completing one or two or three of those attacks with having the ball in the back of the opposition's net -- and Philadelphia's nauseating inability to do just that on a consistent basis. Again, all due respect to the Revolution, but the Union should certainly be able to create high-grade chances on Sunday. And they should be able to rather effectively contain New England's attack, especially without Joseph. But it comes back to the question of whether or not they can convert on all of their hard offensive work. The answer will almost singlehandedly determine whether the Union returns with no points, one point or three points.
Projected starters, up-to-date injury reports and assorted match notes after the jump...
Philadelphia: Mondragon (C); G. Farfan, Valdes, Califf, Williams; Mapp, Nakazawa, Carroll, Le Toux; Mwanga, Ruiz
New England: Reis; Barnes, Soares, Coria, Alston; Phelan, McCarthy; Tierney, Feilhaber, Nyassi; Lekic
For Philadelphia, Levi Houapeu will be unavailable due to a right ankle strain, while Stefani Miglioranzi and Veljko Paunovic are considered "doubtful" due to a sinus fracture and a left hip strain, respectively. Danny Califf is listed as "probable" despite an intercostal sprain.
For New England, Kheli Dube is unavailable due to aftereffects of whiplash (ouch). Kevin Alston, Ousmane Dabo and Andrew Sousa are considered "probable" despite left hamstring tightness, a right quadriceps strain and recovery from left wrist surgery, respectively.
- Chris Penso is listed as tomorrow's match referee. In five career MLS matches, Penso has called for an average of between 20 and 21 fouls per match, handed out an average of between three and four yellow cards a match, given a total of one red card and has awarded a total of three penalty kicks.
- New England has not come back to win an MLS regular season match this season when scoring the first goal (0-7-2). So, Union...do that.
- The Revolution will be embarking on a three-match roadtrip of their own after their matchup with Philadelphia (at D.C. on the 20th, at Colorado on the 23rd and at Sporting on the 30th), so they rather desperately need to pick up points in their final home match before departure.
- If Carlos Valdes or Stephen McCarthy receives a yellow card in tomorrow's match, they will receive an automatic one-match disciplinary suspension for yellow card accumulation (which is what Joseph is serving). If Cochrane were available to play, he, too, would be only one yellow card away from a one-match disciplinary suspension.