CHESTER, Pa. – In the four-year history of their franchise, the Philadelphia Union have never lost to the New England Revolution.
Zac MacMath knows he might need to step up his game to make sure that streak continues Saturday when the Revs pay a visit to PPL Park (5 pm ET, MLS Live).
“I’m not happy with my first two games,” the Union goalkeeper told MLSsoccer.com. “I think I’ve made a couple of critical mistakes. There’s stuff I’m still learning from in-game situations, stuff I need to pick up as a goalkeeper.”
MLS Match Preview: Philadelphia Union vs. New England Revolution
MacMath has given up twice as many goals (four) as he’s made saves (two) so far this season and hasn’t looked especially commanding dealing with crosses or picking out balls in the air. But the Union (1-1-0) still come into Saturday’s game riding high following the franchise’s first-ever win against Colorado last week.
After ending one franchise-long streak, they now hope another one continues this weekend – not that the club’s past success or failures against certain teams weighs heavily on their minds.
“I don’t think about it like that at all,” Hackworth said when asked about Philly’s 4-0-3 all-time record against New England. “I guess it does add a little bit of pressure but we don’t think about it. For instance, we didn’t walk into Colorado thinking we’ve never beaten this team before. In fact, until [after the game ended], I had no clue that stat even existed.”
The most important thing for Philly is prepping for this year’s New England team, which the Union believe is vastly improved from last year’s squad that joined them near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.
The Revs are off to an ideal start in 2013 after a big road win over Chicago.
“We’ve been able to never have lost against them but they’ve changed their culture a little bit,” Union center back Amobi Okugo said. “They’ve got some technical guys like Lee Nguyen and Juan Toja, and Jerry Bengtson pounces on your mistakes. It’s going to be a tough matchup.”
And it’s going to be an important matchup for MacMath, who’s hoping to get in gear against New England’s skilled midfield after his admittedly slow start.
“I didn’t feel like I was completely ready for the first game of the season because of a little bit of injury stuff,” MacMath said. “I think I’m still striving to get to where I want to be.”
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.