Matt Turner has no shortage of goals, both personal and team-wise, long-term and short.
Of course, the common goal as it pertains to the Union is getting three massive points. The Revs enter the fourth meeting this year between the sides in fifth place, four points behind fourth-place Orlando City SC.
“Every game’s important. We’re jockeying for position,” Turner said in a video conference call with reporters. “We want to host a playoff game. We want to finish in that top four.”
Turner said he’d also like to end a personal winless run against the Union, which includes a 2-1 defeat at Subaru Park Sept. 12 when the 10-man Union secured the win via an Anthony Fontana stoppage-time winner that came off a failed clearance on a Union corner kick.
Anthony Fontana's stoppage-time winner for Union vs. Revs
“It’s no secret that we’ve played Philly a bunch of times this year. They’ve definitely edged us and last time they got a pretty dramatic win over us with 10 men,” Turner said. “We’re looking to right the ship in that sense. I’m not sure I’ve ever beaten Philadelphia as a starter either, so personally I’d like to be able to scratch that record and check that box off my list.”
What do the Revs need to do to accomplish that goal? Head coach Bruce Arena stressed that better attention to detail, which was lacking at times in two regular-season meetings and one in the MLS is Back Tournament knockout round against the Union, would be required.
“It’s very important. I think in the three games we’ve played this year, you could argue that Philadelphia has been a little bit better in that regard,” Arena said. “That’s a point of emphasis for our team, is to get these things a little bit better. If we want to beat or compete with the top teams in the league, we have to be paying a lot more attention to detail, whether it’s set pieces or how we play at the end of games, at the end of halves.”
While the Union have clinched their playoff berth, one of four teams in the East to do so, there's still a lot for them to play for down the stretch of the regular season. They're still chasing Toronto FC for the top spot in the East and a win at Gillette would put them three points behind TFC ahead of a clash Saturday (7:30 pm ET | TV & streaming info) at Subaru Park.
"It is in our hands now to try to take points and we continue to climb up the table and hopefully set up for that Toronto game to be for first place in this league," Curtin said in a video conference call Saturday, adding "playoffs is nice, but we have bigger aspirations and bigger goals ahead. It’s to get as many points as possible and make a run at the [first place in the league]."
In addition to navigating a difficult opponent at a tough venue, the Union head to Gillette without key midfield cogs Alejandro Bedoya, suspended due to yellow card accumulation, Jose Martinez, who is quarantining after returning from international duty, and likely Warren Creavalle, who is hobbled with an ankle injury.
That could mean a chance for Fontana to earn his second consecutive start, with the versatile Brenden Aaronson dropping deeper. MLS's most famous supersub Ilsinho could also earn a start. Curtin has a plan, but he's understandably not revealing much ahead of the Monday's encounter.
"We went through an exercise today with what we thought was a way to get our best players, our best XI on the field," Curtin said on Saturday. "We liked how it looked. We’re not going to give Bruce a head start on anything, but we have a solution for Ale being out and Jose being gone."