The New England Revolution look to shake out of a five-match funk when they host the Philadelphia Union on Saturday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.
The Revolution (7-7-8, 29 points) are 0-3-2 since defeating D.C. United on June 30 and have slipped into a fifth-place tie with the Montreal Impact in the Eastern Conference. The Union (8-11-3, 27 points) are just two points behind in seventh place.
New England has allowed 10 goals over its last four matches but coach Brad Friedel feels his club is on the verge of breaking out of the sluggish stretch.
“I’ve been involved in football for a long, long time,” Friedel told reporters. “These sort of things happen. They happen to the best of teams in the world, and we’re playing well. I’ve approached things no differently than I did on Day One.
“You’ve been around and you’ve seen in my demeanor — there’s absolutely nothing to panic about here at all. The players are fully focused and we have a good team.”
The Union also have encountered difficulties by losing six of their past nine MLS matches.
But optimism is percolating after Philadelphia delivered a sharp 3-0 win over the Chicago Fire on Wednesday to advance to the U.S. Open Cup final. Forward Corey Burke scored two goals.
Union coach Jim Curtin was concerned about the lack of preparation time with the match being so pivotal for both squads.
“I think that it needs to be said that the players stuck together in a hard moment, rolled up their sleeves I thought in the second half, on a very hot night found energy,” Curtin told media members after Wednesday’s win. “Obviously, we have a quick turnaround now, so we’ll celebrate.”
Burke has five goals in MLS play and is tied with midfielder Borek Dockal for the team lead. Goalkeeper Andre Blake has a 1.68 goals-against average and five shutouts but his performance — and that of the defense — has been shaky of late with 16 goals allowed over the past six matches.
New England goalkeeper Matt Turner has four shutouts but also has experienced recent issues. He has allowed 14 goals in the past seven matches to see his GAA rise to 1.59.
Forward Teal Bunbury has a career-high 11 goals for the Revolution but his tally in last Saturday’s 3-3 tie against Orlando City was his first since June 30.
Midfielders Cristian Penilla (nine goals) and Diego Fagundez (seven) also are potent forces for New England.
The Union have won four of the past five meetings and blanked the Revolution 2-0 on March 3 in Philadelphia.
—Field Level Media