What to watch as the Philadelphia Union return to regular-season action

SOCCER: JUL 30 MLS is Back Quarterfinal – Philadelphia Union v Sporting Kansas City
ORLANDO, FL – JULY 30: Philadelphia Union midfielder Brenden Aaronson (22) shoots and Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Tim Melia (29) makes a save during the MLS Is Back Tournament Quarterfinal between the Philadelphia Union v Sporting Kansas City on July 30, 2020 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports, Orlando FL. (Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire)

The New England Revolution play host to the Philadelphia Union for their second-consecutive game, seeking vengeance after the boys in blue dealt them an early exit from the MLS is back tournament. For the Union, this game is all about rebounding, but will they be able to beat one of the biggest names in MLS history twice in a matter of weeks?

Know your enemy

It feels like only yesterday that the Union sent the Revs crashing out of the MLS is Back tournament after a Santos goal extinguished any offensive fire. The problem for Bruce Arena’s men will be igniting it once more, with former Aston Villa man Carles Gill sidelined due to an Achilles injury.

The team will have to run through Gustavo Bou, who was somehow kept scoreless against the Union last game, despite firing in 6 shots and just as many crosses. Stopping him will be absolutely key to forcing the Revs to a grinding halt.

The team have sought desperately to add some depth since the end of the tournament, adding names like Tommy McNamara, who led the Dynamo in appearances (39) last year. Getting names like him and Kekuta Manneh acclimated with the squad may take some time, boding well for the union.

New England sit ninth in the East after the season (?) so far, while the Union sit in the heart of the playoff race in fourth. Odds should favor the Union here.

Players to watch

Kacper Przybylko

Przybylko had an interesting MLS is back tournament. There were times he looked red hot, and others where he missed clear-cut chances. What stung most of all were the 3 offside goals that would’ve arguably propelled the team to silverware. Expect him to be the ‘center’ of attention tonight.

Andre Blake

Blake was extremely impressive given the circumstance against Portland, being beaten on two set pieces where the defense looked to lack attention. Making his campaign to be named the best keeper of MLS, Blake has made 5 saves in each of his last four matches and will be crucial in stopping Bou once again.

Brenden Aaronson

The Union’s brightest wonderkid, Aaronson had a quiet game against Portland until that offside goal he set up. However, his vision on the ball and movement off of it continue to be exceptional as the Union almost bend their attacking moves around his flair. Expect much of the same today.

Sergio Santos

Santos was red-hot, having scored 3 goals in 2 games. That flame was extinguished when he missed a crucial penalty in the MLS is back final. It’s clear Santos works best when being played through by Aaronson and company, and will look to be that under-the-radar attacking threat while the taller Przybylko commands attention in the area.

The Union proved they were for real in Orlando and should be able to go stride-for-stride with a weakened Revs side.

Prediction: Union 2-1 Revolution

Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire