After five defeats in their past six games, the New England Revolution have little room for error if they’re to make the MLS playoffs.
And they know it heading into Saturday’s match at Philadelphia.
“It’s really important that we win against Philadelphia this weekend. We should have got a result against them here a couple of weeks ago,” said Revolution coach Brad Friedel, referring to a 3-2 loss Aug. 11 in Foxborough in which the Union passed New England in the Eastern Conference standings. “I feel, all the players feel and the staff feels that we should get a result when we go there this weekend. ... Like I told the players this morning, we have 10 Cup finals.”
New England (7-9-8, 29 points) is coming off a 2-0 loss at D.C. United.
Philadelphia (10-11-3, 33 points), which defeated nine-man New England 2-0 in the regular-season opener, is coming off perhaps its most impressive game of the season, a 2-0 victory against New York City FC. The Union played without suspended midfielder Fabrice-Jean Picault, who is in a three-way tie with Ilsinho and Borek Dockal for second on the team with five goals, one behind Cory Burke.
“I was probably the happiest person to come into training on Tuesday, just because I knew that we had a game on Saturday,” Picault said this week after sitting out because of yellow-card accumulation. “And I was happy we got the good result, so everybody was still in a good mood.”
Burke and Ilsinho each scored in the second half against NYCFC, with Dockal assisting on both goals.
“We knew that this game would be against the strongest opponent we played in quite some time,” Philadelphia coach Jim Curtin said. “It would be a real challenge for us to raise our intensity, raise our focus, our discipline, our pressing. I thought that the guys executed exactly what we asked of them.”
Revolution midfielder Scott Caldwell is suspended for the match, while defender Chris Tierney is out with a torn right anterior cruciate ligament. The Union will be without midfielder Anthony Fontana, who is out with a right hamstring injury. Defender Mark McKenzie is listed as questionable with a left knee sprain.
Teal Bunbury leads New England in scoring with 11 goals, followed by Cristian Penilla (nine) and Diego Fagundez (seven).
The Union has a 12-6-4 advantage in all-time series, including 7-3-2 at home.
—Field Level Media