Game: Philadelphia Union at New England Revolution
Date: Saturday, August 20th
Time: 7:30 pm
Venue: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA
Referees: REF: ROBERT SIBIGA; AR1: Craig Lowry; AR2: Brian Poeschel; 4TH: Alan Kelly
Television: The Comcast Network (Philadelphia), Comcast Sports Network (New England), MLS Direct Kick
Stream: MLS Live, MLS Direct Kick
All-time record: The Union (8-8-7) are 9-5-5 all time against New England (6-9-8), going 8-5-4 in MLS play and 1-0-1 in US Open Cup play. They lead the series 3-2-3 all time in New England (the recent US Open Cup quarterfinal match that went to penalties is officially recorded as a draw). Their only MLS meeting so far this season was a 3-0 Union win back in March at Talen Energy Stadium.
How the Union will look: The question everyone is wondering is if Union fans will see the debut of US International Alejandro Bedoya. Given that he was in preseason with FC Nantes, I doubt that he plays 90 minutes. The pressure to start him would come from the foot injury to stalwart captain Brian Carroll. There’s been instability at the position since the departure of Vincent Nogueira, so that area is begging for an infusion of quality. CJ Sapong will lead the line for the visitors, and he will be flanked likely by Ilsinho and team-leading goal-scorer Chris Pontius. It’s somewhat of a homecoming for recently acquired Charlie Davies, so I’d be shocked if he didn’t play, maybe even get a start, since he knows Revolution quite well. The Carroll injury may keep Tranquillo Barnetta playing the deeper midfield position, and allowing Roland Alberg back in the XI. The rearguard should be the same as last match; Fabinho, Richie Marquez, Ken Tribbett, and Keegan Rosenberry.
How the Revolution will look: The Revs are coming off of playing this past Tuesday. They were victorious in the US Open Cup semifinal at home against Chicago Fire, so the good news for Union fans is that their opponent is coming off of a short week. The bad news is that Kei Kamara looked great in that match. Chicago are in last place, I understand that, but Kamara ran at the defense and looked comfortable in combination with Kelyn Rowe out of the central midfield. Lee Nguyen did not start in the #10 role, but came on for Diego Fagundez in the second half. I’d expect Nguyen to start Saturday, given that he only played 28 minutes Tuesday night. Gershon Koffie played great next to Scott Caldwell in the holding midfield, but he’s suspended for this match due to yellow card accumulation. Expect Daigo Kobayashi to start in his place. The defense was a boost to the offense, as Je-Vaughn Watson netted the match-winner that extinguished the Fire. They largely played well in their own end, as their lone goal conceded was to David Accam who is a special talent; nothing to be ashamed of.
What to expect: New England are coming off of a mid-week match, and both teams aren’t in the greatest of form in league. New England could be buoyed by their convincing 3-1 victory, or fatigued by having an extra match in this summer heat. Union have made some roster additions in the past couple of weeks, but will any of either the two veteran additions or the two homegrown signings factor in just yet? There’s some rain in the forecast for Saturday night, but it’ll be a bit cooler than it has been. The teams sit 5 and 6 in the Eastern Conference table entering the weekend, therefore I’d expect both teams to push for an early goal. New England’s first half Tuesday was end-to-end and exciting. I’d expect the same for Saturday, which should make for an entertaining affair.