They met in the first round back in 2020, with the Philadelphia Union having home advantage, and it’s the same old story in the first round in 2023. Will it be a case of history repeating itself for the New England Revolution, who triumphed 2-0 in that game, or will the Union exact best-served-cold revenge three years on in the new Round One Best-of-3 series format?
Neither of these teams have ever lifted an MLS Cup, with Philadelphia’s best postseason performance coming last season as they won the Eastern Conference final but lost in MLS Cup to LAFC. They’ll look to go one better this time, continuing their steady improvement in playoff performances.
New England Revolution, on the other hand, are well-versed in postseason tradition, but the MLS Cup trophy continues to elude them. Five times the Revs have been Eastern Conference Champions, and five times they have lost in the final – including a three-in-a-row run between 2005 and 2007. Could the eternal MLS bridesmaid finally be the bride this year?
This is Jack Collins from The Game Day to look at the MLS Audi Cup Playoff series between the Philadelphia Union and New England Revolution, starting on Saturday, Oct. 28.
Philadelphia Union vs New England Revolution MLS Cup Odds
MLS lines used for Philadelphia Union vs New England Revolution were current as of Wednesday, Oct. 25 at 10 am EST on Bet365 Sportsbook.
- Philadelphia Union to win MLS Cup: +1200
- Philadelphia Union to reach MLS Cup Final: +600
- New England Revolution to win MLS Cup: +1400
- New England Revolution to reach MLS Cup Final: +700
Philadelphia Union vs New England Revolution Round One Best-of-3 Prediction
Philadelphia Union Win Series 2-1
While the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs have thrown up their fair share of upsets and spoils down the years, the difference between fourth and fifth places this year was negligible. Philadelphia and New England finished on the same number of points in the Eastern Conference, and their regular season matchups were split, with both sides winning at home.
And that should come as no surprise – both of these sides have dominant home records across the course of the campaign. Jim Curtin’s Union went 10W-1L-6D at Subaru Park, while the Revs, now under the stewardship of interim head coach Clint Peay, went 12W-1L-4D at Gillette Stadium.
The matchup also gives us a battle between two of the league’s best No. 10s. The Union’s Dániel Gazdag scored 14 times and assisted 11 across the course of the regular season, while Revs captain Carles Gil scored 11 and assisted 15 in slightly fewer games. As with almost everything else in this game, there’s little to separate them, and it’s become eminently apparent that on their day, both can be the difference between glory and defeat.
With almost nothing between the two in the league table and each of their talisman players putting up similar numbers, the question becomes what makes the difference in this series. Aside from Philadelphia having home advantage, the other standout factor might just be that this Union side have been here recently and succeeded.
This is a very similar group of players to the one that edged Cincinnati and enacted revenge on NYCFC to win last year’s Eastern Conference bid to MLS Cup, and that muscle memory should work in their favor.
While the New England Revolution’s Decision Day win against the Philadelphia Union does give them a slight mental advantage going into this series, it doesn’t seem enough to provide them with the edge against the Union’s phenomenal home record and recent postseason success. Philadelphia in three.
Philadelphia Union MLS Cup Future
Philadelphia Union to Win MLS Cup (+600) • Bet365 Sportsbook
While there are more than a couple of clubs coming into the playoffs in better form than the Union, on their day, we know this squad can beat anyone. There have been flashes of last season’s glory in the previous few months, like the first half against Atlanta United a few weeks ago when they roared into a 3-0 lead. But mostly, they’ve been playing like a team with their foot off the gas ahead of a big few last laps.
In this squad, the core remains very similar to that of the one that came within a whisker of getting their hands on the trophy last year – the aforementioned Gazdag remains a match-winner, but in Andre Blake and Julián Carranza, the Union also boast assured, critical pieces at both ends of the pitch.
There remains a big question over whether Curtin’s side have left it too late to hit that accelerator and turn up their performances for the big occasion, but if that proves not to be a problem, then they remain one of the best outside bets to win the entire thing. Their two games this season with Cincinnati were close-run things, and we’ve seen them have the edge on Columbus and Atlanta already this season.
If the Union can turn on the jets and power through a packed Eastern side of the Playoff draw, they could go all the way.