Game: Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup 4th Round: Philadelphia Union vs. New England Revolution
Date: Wednesday, July 20th
Venue: Jordan Field, Boston, MA
Television: None (well, you can hook up a computer to a television and watch that way)
Stream: U.S. Soccer will be streaming the match via YouTube
All-time record: The Union (8-6-6) are 9-5-4 all time against New England (5-7-8) - 8-5-4 in MLS play and 1-0-0 in US Open Cup play. They lead the series 3-2-2 all time in New England, but this is the first time that the two sides have played each other at Jordan Field in Boston. Their only meeting so far this season was a 2-0 Union win back in March, at Talen Energy Stadium.
How the Union will look: This being the round-of-eight matchup in the US Open Cup, the Union will go with their best possible lineup. Expect CJ Sapong to lead the line, with Roland Alberg, Chris Pontius, and Ilsinho supporting him. I’d expect Ilsinho to play since Sunday night’s red card may cost him his eligibility to play Saturday at Montreal. But Sebastien Le Toux has a well-documented history of success in this tournament, so don’t be surprised if he gets the nod. The defensive midfield has been manned by Brian Carroll and Warren Creavalle, but Tranquillo Barnetta has joined in after the departure of Vincent Nogueira. The back line should be Fabinho, Richie Marquez, and Keegan Rosenberry in front of Andre Blake in net. The health of Josh Yaro will determine whether it is he or Ken Tribbett who plays the other center back role.
How the Revolution will look: Kei Kamara has been the lone striker since his arrival in New England, via trade from Columbus. The variations in the Revs lineup has primarily come in their five-man midfield. Lee Nguyen is a safe bet to start in the #10 role, and I’ll guess that Kelyn Rowe and Diego Fagundez play the wings. Scott Caldwell and Daigo Kobayashi will likely be the holding mids. The rearguard is anchored by Jose Goncalves and London Woodberry, with Andrew Farrell and either Chris Tierney or Je-Vaughn Watson on the outsides.
What to expect: Both teams play the same formation, and are strong in the center of their respective midfields. New England prefer to build methodically, while the Union prefer to spread their opponents forward and wide with Sapong, Pontius, Fabinho, and Rosenberry. Expect to see New England pass the ball around to keep possession, while the Union will press for turnovers that can be turned into quick strikes on the run-out. Look for Sapong to make runs in behind the very good Goncalves, as opposed to posting him up, as Goncalves is a strong, sturdy defender. The Revolution have balanced scoring. Nguyen leads the team with five goals, with four others netting three. Their midfield scores quite a bit, so the Union marking can’t afford lax moments, like the one Tribbett had Sunday against RBNY. It also should be fun to see which MLS All-Star right back has more influence on the game: Rosenberry or Farrell. These factors, and which goalkeeper can be a difference-maker, will determine who moves on to the penultimate round of the tournament next month.