New England Revolution vs. Philadelphia Union | MLS Match Preview

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION vs PHILADELPHIA UNION
GILLETTE STADIUM, Foxborough, Mass.
August 25, 2013 (WEEK 26, MLS Game #240)
7:30 p.m. ET (CSN-NE; CSN-Phi)

A pair of clubs in the thick of the chase for playoff positions in the Eastern Conference meet Sunday night when the New England Revolution play host to Philadelphia Union at Gillette Stadium. The Revolution are on the outside looking in at present, three points out of fifth place and the final postseason spot, after their 2-0 home win vs. Chicago last weekend. Union are tied for third in the East and just a point out of the top spot, following their scoreless draw at New York last weekend.

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REFEREE: Allen Chapman. AR1 (bench): Craig Lowry; AR2 (opposite): Mark Cahen; 4th: Ted Unkel
MLS Career: 28 games; FC/gm: 20.6; Y/gm: 3.1; R: 4; pens: 7

DISABLED LIST: PHI: Greg Jordan
SUSPENDED: NE: Saer Sene (through Aug. 25)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: NE: Lee Nguyen … PHI: Amobi Okugo, Danny Cruz
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: NE: Juan Toja, Kelyn Rowe, Andrew Farrell, Dimitry Imbongo … PHI: Brian Carroll, Raymon Gaddis, Michael Farfan, Jeff Parke, Sheanon Williams
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (9 meetings): Revolution 1 win, 9 goals … Union 5 wins, 14 goals … Ties 3
AT GILLETTE STADIUM (4 meetings): Revolution 1 win, 3 goal … Union 2 wins, 5 goals … Ties 1

2013 (MLS)
3/16: PHI 1, NE 0 (McInerney 76)
4/27: NE 2, PHI 0 (Fagundez 61; Nguyen 72)

  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Jack McInerney scored the game’s only goal in the 76th minute for a Union victory March 16 at PPL Park, then Diego Fagundez and Lee Nguyen scored second-half goals for a 2-0 Revolution victory April 27 at Gillette Stadium.
  • The victory in the last meeting was New England’s first ever against Philadelphia, after five Union victories and three draws in their first eight encounters.
  • Coaches record: Jay Heaps vs. PHI: P5 W1 L3 D1 … John Hackworth vs. NE: P5 W3 L1 D1

LAST MEETING (MLS)

  • The Revolution opened the scoring in the 61st minute. Lee Nguyen slipped Kelyn Rowe through on the right side of the penalty area, and he picked out Diego Fagundez's run near the penalty spot. Fagundez swept home with his first touch.
  • Nguyen then started and finished the buildup to the vital second 11 minutes later. He embarked upon an incisive run through midfield and played second-half substitute Saer Sene through on the left side of the penalty area. MacMath saved the initial attempt, but the rebound fell kindly for Nguyen and he gleefully thumped home into the empty net.
  • NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (4-1-4-1): Bobby Shuttleworth - Andrew Farrell, Stephen McCarthy, Jose Goncalves, Chris Tierney - Kalifa Cisse - Diego Fagundez, Kelyn Rowe, Lee Nguyen (Scott Caldwell 89), Ryan Guy (Saer Sene 61) - Jerry Bengtson (Dimitry Imbongo 74).
  • PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-1-3-2): Zac MacMath - Sheanon Williams, Jeff Parke, Amobi Okugo, Raymon Gaddis - Brian Carroll - Danny Cruz (Antoine Hoppenot 65), Keon Daniel (Jose Kleberson 72), Michael Farfan - Jack McInerney, Conor Casey (Sebastien Le Toux 59).

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
The New England Revolution put an end to their two-game losing slide, defeating the Chicago Fire 2-0 on Saturday evening at Gillette Stadium. The Revolution are in sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 33 points from 24 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The Revolution went in front nine minutes after the halftime interval. Chris Tierney played a long diagonal over the top and Juan Agudelo raced behind the defense, spotted Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson adrift from his line and swept the ball over the top of him with an audacious backheel. The effort bounced over the line before Bakary Soumaré acrobatically cleared.
  • The second goal came in second-half stoppage time. Kelyn Rowe made no mistake in stoppage time when he pounced on a rebound in the box from a saved Saer Sene shot.
  • The Fire were without coach Frank Klopas, dismissed for the final 10 minutes of the affair. Sène and Soumaré both saw red cards after the match concluded for their roles in a post-match scuffle at midfield.
  • Revolution head coach Jay Heaps made five changes to the team that fell 3-0 to Sporting Kansas City at Sporting Park. Matt Reis came in between the posts in place of Bobby Shuttleworth, A.J. Soares started in the back for Stephen McCarthy, Chad Barrett and Diego Fagundez started in midfield in place of Saer Sene and Kevin Alston, and Juan Agudelo came in up top for the suspended Dimitry Imbongo.
  • NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (4-1-4-1): Matt Reis - Andrew Farrell, A.J. Soares, Jose Goncalves, Chris Tierney - Scott Caldwell - Chad Barrett (Charlie Davies 79), Lee Nguyen, Kelyn Rowe, Diego Fagundez (Ryan Guy 86) - Juan Agudelo (Saer Sene 68).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Revolution not only snapped a two-game losing slide overall, they also stopped a two-game home losing streak, having suffered back-to-back defeats by Houston and Toronto.
  • “We needed a win. Last week, we were really disappointed with the way the game went from top to bottom. We were really disappointed with (the loss) to Toronto as well, because we played decent enough to do something in that game. But we didn’t and that was a real kick to our psyche,” said Revolution head coach Jay Heaps. “We needed to rebound. I thought tonight after another loss, you really start asking a lot of guys, and tonight the energy was there. Right from the opening whistle, I felt really good about our chances.”
  • Revolution striker Juan Agudelo scored a stunning goal, a backheel over Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson, for his sixth goal of the year and first goal since June 15, when he scored three times in his first five matches since coming to New England from Chivas USA.
  • “Juan has a really good presence up there. He’s not afraid to receive it and when he receives it, he’s actually always dangerous when he holds it. It’s not just holding it to play it; it’s holding it to get people in and then giving it up,” said Heaps. “So for me, he gives players like Lee (Nguyen) and Kelyn (Rowe) a little bit more time to find the gaps, and Diego (Fagundez) as well. When you have someone who can do that, it really opens up what we’re trying to do.”
  • Agudelo had missed eight consecutive league matches with a knee injury, his last appearance coming in the June 15 match vs. Vancouver.
  • “That was a great goal, and that’s what he brings. He brings that little bit that you need. You can see why the premier leagues are asking for him,” said goalkeeper Matt Reis. “[Juan Agudelo] does all the things well. He holds the ball up well, he gets behind well, takes people on. He’s got the complete package.”
  • Charlie Davies made his Revolution debut, coming on for the final 11 minutes in place of Chad Barrett, his first appearance in a competitive match in several months.
  • “It depends how much time you get with the guys [to learn a new system.] I’m just taking it game by game and we’ll see what happens,” said Davies. “I think fairly quickly, I’ll be able to be on the same page as these guys. I think it’s just a matter of timing at this point. A lot of the guys know how I play, which is great. I think soon enough it will click.”
  • Reis made his first league appearance since March 23, and recorded a shutout for the third time in three MLS games this season. Reis played all three of the Revolution’s U.S. Open Cup matches.
  • “It’s a little bit feel, it’s a little bit going over a lot of film and just seeing where we might need an uptick in certain areas. I thought Matt (Reis) has been training really well and pushing Bobby (Shuttleworth) and Bobby’s played great all year,” said Heaps. “It’s a great little competition, but sometimes when guys are pushing in training – to reward and give an opportunity, I thought Matt earned it.”

PHILADELPHIA UNION
Philadelphia Union took a valuable point on the road, reaching a scoreless draw with the New York Red Bulls on Saturday evening at Red Bull Arena. Union sit in a tie for third place in the Eastern Conference with 38 points from 25 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The game’s best chance came in the 73rd minute when the crossbar denied Union's Sébastien Le Toux. Antoine Hoppenot was denied by Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles eight minutes later for one of his three saves on the night.
  • Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath was also called upon to make three saves in keeping the clean sheet.
  • Union team manager John Hackworth made no changes to the team that took a 2-0 decision against D.C. United at PPL Park
  • PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-4-2): Zac MacMath - Sheanon Williams, Jeff Parke, Amobi Okugo, Fabinho - Sebastien Le Toux, Keon Daniel, Brian Carroll, Danny Cruz (Michael Farfan 71) - Jack McInerney (Antoine Hoppenot 66), Conor Casey (Aaron Wheeler 89).

TEAM NEWS

  • Union recorded a shutout for the fourth time in the last five games in their scoreless draw at New York.
  • “I think it says a lot about our team, the way we've approached games this year and our mentality coming into a place where we haven't even gotten a point, ever," manager John Hackworth said. “Especially against a Red Bull team that I thought was at full strength tonight and was excellent for long stretches of that match. Credit to our guys for really doing a good job defensively. The longer that game went on, I felt like we opened them up a little bit and even had some chances to find one at the end.”
  • Since the start of June, when Union sat in fifth place and held down the final playoff position in the Eastern Conference, they’ve lost just twice in 12 games.
  • “It was kind of like a playoff feel. We knew the importance of the game and everyone stepped up, the midfield especially. [Brian Carroll] and Keon Daniel, the amount of [running] they did was big for us. We felt like we had a couple of chances late in the game where we could have won, but the amount of defending we had to do, we'll take the point."
  • Said goalkeeper Zac MacMath: “[This game] does wonders for our team. We know that we have about nine games left and if we can win all of our home games and get some points on the road, we’ll be in the playoffs and that for us is our main goal right now."
  • MacMath pulled into a five-way tie for the MLS lead with nine shutouts. He has been ever-present in goal in MLS matches for Union this season.
  • “We’re a good team and I think we’ve played a bit of the underdog role for a lot of this season,” said MacMath. “But that’s OK, we’ll quietly take the points and hopefully at the end of the day achieve the goal we set out to do in the beginning of the season, which is to make the playoffs and be one of those teams competing for an MLS Cup.”
  • Fabinho played a second consecutive match at left back with Raymon Gaddis sidelined. It was his sixth consecutive appearance.
  • “We definitely played a lot of defense, but with that being said, I think we had the better chances in the game to maybe get three points,” right back Sheanon Williams said. “We talked about that going into the game, I think a point here is definitely something that we'll take.”