The New England Revolution may be at the Eastern Conference summit, but they have come up short in their last two outings. The Philadelphia Union are hardly a pushover either and so they will have their work cut out for them in the next one. Can Bruce Arena overcome a familiar foe in the form of Jim Curtin?
Can the Revs Overcome A Strong Jim Curtin Side?
Looking to Bounce Back
As previously mentioned, the Revolution have lost their last two games and so will look to change their fortunes tomorrow evening. The Pittsburgh Riverhounds dumped them out of the U.S. Open Cup and then they lost to Inter Miami in controversial circumstances.
Whilst you can’t dwell on such a defeat, particularly given the manner of it, Head Coach Bruce Arena was quick to point out the mistakes from the officials when asked about teenager Noel Buck. “He scored a great goal against Miami that should have been allowed.” After that, he went on to plant his stamp of arrival for the homegrown. “I think he’s done very well. Wherever we play him on the field he has responded quite well. He’s been a real pleasant surprise for us.”
— Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) May 19, 2023
When it comes to the availability report and Arena was as cagey as ever. When asked about the absence of Gustavo Bou, he replied with a wry smile on his face. “He has an injury. That’s why he’s missing. He’s not fully training.” The Argentine has been sidelined for a while now and whilst that is a blow on the surface, it has allowed Bobby Wood to make the starting spot his own.
Wood, who joined from Real Salt Lake in the off-season, is currently on three goals which is the joint best on the team. Captain Carles Gil and Designated Player Giacomo Vrioni also have three to their name and so Wood is keeping good company. On the topic of Bou’s absence, young midfielder Buck sang the praises of the Hawaii native. “I think our forwards have stepped up. I think Bobby Wood has been really, really good, he’s a good player.”
Bruce Arena vs Jim Curtin
There aren’t many more experienced head coaches in Major League Soccer than the duo who are set to go head-to-head at Subaru Park tomorrow. Bruce Arena has won titles wherever he’s been, dating back to the late 1990s with D.C. United in the early days of the league. Meanwhile, Jim Curtin has been in Philadelphia for nearly a decade and has become something of a local legend.
They have crossed paths many times before and Arena spoke very highly of his opposite number. “We have a good relationship. He’s done a really good job. He’s a bright guy. He’s respectful and he’s just a good coach and a good person. They’ve got a real good one there in Philadelphia.”
— Jonathan Tannenwald (@thegoalkeeper) May 16, 2023
The Union were the best team in the East by some distance last year, yet they’ve had a slower start this year. Jim Curtin and co currently sit down in sixth with nine points separating them and the leading Revs. Arena echoed the sentiments of the excellence of this Philly side. “It’s going to be a difficult game, and they’re a good team playing at home with good players, it’ll be challenging. We’ll be eager to respond coming off a loss.”
Philly’s attacking line of Daniel Gazdag, Julian Carranza and Mikael Uhre is feared across the league, as was pointed out by Buck. “Their top three are very good. They’re very good goal-scorers and it’s going to be a lot to deal with. We just have to be ready to deal with them. We know what to expect, and on Saturday we have to be ready.”
It promises to be a great game, a very tight game, between two of the better teams in MLS. Kick-off is at 7:30pm ET and the game can be watched on the MLS Apple TV Season Pass.
Featuredf image credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports, taken May 17, 2023.