PREVIEW – The NE Revolution began the game against NYCFC in the Open Cup with a heavily rotated line-up and it was a tight affair. “There’s certainly going to change with three games and eight days” was the official line from Bruce Arena prior to last weekend’s fixture. That has certainly been the case across the two games so far and it will surely come into play with the Union in town on Saturday.
The NE Revolution is Back in MLS Action after a Cup Defeat
Philly and New England are Both on Very Different Paths
The Philadelphia Union may be atop of the Eastern Conference, but they have hit a bump in the road recently. Previously, there were unstoppable, winning five of their first six fixtures. This was then followed by a streak of no win in six in all competitions, before their last outing. On Sunday, the Union visited Providence Park and beat Gio Saverese’s Timbers 2-0.
Philly was eliminated from the Open Cup by Orlando City with the other five of that second stretch being draws in league play. Jim Curtin’s men blew leads late on versus both Nashville and LAFC. Miami loanee Julian Carranza and Daniel Gazdag scored twice each in that stretch, the latter leading the team with seven on this season.
We're still scoreless in Jamaica, Queens.
0-0 | #USOC2022
— U.S. Open Cup (@opencup) May 26, 2022
On the flip side, as the Union has started to slide, the NE Revolution is meanwhile on the rise. Balancing CCL as well as several injuries plagued Bruce Arena in the early stages of the season. they may still be below the playoff line, but things are looking up. They showed the ability to keep fighting in the 3-2 win over Cincinnati and it was a solitary Taty Castellanos strike in extra time that saw NYCFC move on in the cup.
How will this Fixture be Approached?
This match will see the last two Supporters’ Shield winners go head-to-head in the form of the NE Revolution and Philadelphia. The former have been at their best in front of their own fans, losing just two out of eight at Gillette in all competitions. On the other hand, their opponents for the weekend have won two and drawn three out of six games on the road in MLS, so neither will roll over so to speak.
Some teams have more question marks over who plays week-in, and week-out than others. Curtin has somewhat of a luxury in that regard with him regularly playing a similar team. Something which Rev’s fullback DeJuan Jones has alluded to: “we’ve played Philly a lot, especially over the last couple of years, and we know it’s always a tough game. They play hard. They play the same lineup pretty much every game so they have really good chemistry together.”
Meanwhile, coach Arena certainly seems aware of the threat they pose, saying the following: “good players, well-coached, and very consistent in the way they go about their business.” On that consistency and Philly has been in and around the summit of the Eastern Conference for a number of years now. Whether they win silverware or not, the Union is always challenging in the right way.
Who can Make the Difference for the NE Revolution?
The NE Revolution faithful has been enamoured by Adam Buksa and his form in front of goal. Flying fullback duo Brandon Bye and Jones are key in getting crosses in and driving the team up the pitch. It puts a lot of stress and duress on the opposing team having this, a sentiment echoed by Jones; “down both flanks, we’re definitely dangerous. Brandon and myself, we’re doing a good job with the flanks this year, getting a lot of assists and even putting in some goals.”
As previously mentioned, the Hungarian Gazdag is the player to watch on the attacking end from a Union point of view. He isn’t the only man to keep an eye on for the NE Revolution but Jones highlighted what he brings to the table: “he’s a good player. He finds good spaces in and around the box. He’s a good shooter. He can shoot from far, he can shoot from close, and he’s a good finisher. We’ll definitely keep an eye on him close to the box, for sure.”
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) May 23, 2022
A quick glance at the standings would see most people tip Philly to come out on top in this one. The NE Revolution is trending in the right direction though and will be hoping to bounce back after losing to NYCFC in mid-week. Will Arena be able to mastermind that?