The Philadelphia Union began the week on a run of three wins. A scoreless draw at home against DC snapped the winning streak, but this Philly side will have to have a short memory as they take on another rival. The Union ends their rivalry week against a top team in the east the New England Revolution.
Union vs Revolution Preview
The Union and the Revolution have had some memorable games against one another over the last few years. In 2020 it seemed like they were playing against each other every other game. Philly took the Supporters Shield that year only to be knocked out of the playoffs by the Revs.
The following season, it was New England’s turn to win the Shield, but they too failed to make it to the eastern conference final. Last year the Union returned to the top of the east, and now this year the Revs have been on top for most of the early part of the season.
For the first time in 2023, the two teams who have reigned in the east over the last three seasons will meet. Will it be another feisty affair? Will we see the Union stay unbeaten for a fifth straight MLS match? Or will New England continue their hot start to their 2023 campaign?
2023 MLS Season So Far
New England has won seven, lost only twice, and drawn three times. While New England doesn’t have the biggest stars on the pitch their big-money players are playing well this year, and their MLS veteran signings have been hitting as of late for Bruce Arena’s team.
The Revs are in the top five in goals scored with 1.6 per game and are tied for the third-best goals conceded per 90 with 0.9. This team is sound defensively and has done very well to create chances this season. Their expected goals are second-best in MLS, only behind LAFC, with 20.3 xG through 12 matches. A lot of these changes have come from winger Dylan Borrero who gives this New England a different dynamic, but he is out for the rest of the year with a torn ACL.
Can New England keep their form up without that superstar winger? The stats say yes right now. The Revs have a core of experienced players, and young hungry players breaking into their team right now. The nucleus is a sound one, and they should be a top-five team in the east this season. But who will be the players to make or break this upcoming Philly-New England matchup?
The Revs will need to redefine how their attack clicks now that Borerro is out for the year. He was their difference-maker early on, now that moniker falls to New England’s man in the middle Carles Gil. The man who pulls the strings for the Revs will be the man who will make or break the match for a team looking to stay at the top of the east. His ability to pull center backs out of position and make room for other attackers to exploit will be New England’s key to success against Philly.
For Philly, the man who will prove to be the most important player will be Mikael Uhre. Philly struggled to create chances in their midweek draw against DC, Uhre was not fit enough to start, which prompted Philly to morph into using a 4-3-2-1 formation. The attack suffered mightily, and if the Union want to get a win against the Revs they’ll need a healthy Uhre to kickstart the attack with his direct runs.
Should Uhre not be fit to start again, then the chances of this Philly side will fall on Hungarian Daniel Gazdag. The creative-goal scoring midfielder has yet to really make his mark this season; a big game against a trivial could just jumpstart the Union in a climb up the eastern conference table.
This will be the 12th meeting between these two sides in the last three seasons; yes you read that right. These teams know each other very well. Over the past 11 matches, the Union has the upper hand with five wins, three losses, and three ties against New England. In each of these past matches, there have only been two-three goals in the games. Most of them being close and thrilling matches where both teams score.
This one should be similar, but the edge could fall Philly’s way should they be able to contain Gil. New England has a plethora of players out injured. As mentioned earlier Borrero is out, but the Revs also are without Gustavo Bou, Henry Kessler, and Tommy McNamara. All of those players have been a thorn in Philly’s side in the past. Without them in this game, the Union just have to limit Gil’s touches in the middle and they will have the chance to win the game.
Of course, this calls on Philly’s attack to actually put the ball in the net. We know that they can do it, just look at what they did last season. The difference between a draw or a win for Philadelphia in this one will be if one or more of the front three can score a goal. Put me down for a 3-1 Union win with Carranza, Uhre, and Gazdag all scoring. What a confidence boost that would be for a team that just needs that little spark to set fire to their 2023 MLS play!
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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union