Game #21 Preview: Union at New England

Posted on 28 August 2010 by Breton Bonnette

The Union are set for atonement after a dismal 2-0 loss at the hands of the worst team in Major League Soccer. Danny Allsopp’s brace and Philadelphia’s showing tested a lot of Union fans with ten games to play. Will the Zolos reward their faithful with a spirited second away win? Or will the suffering continue?

Happier times...

Philadelphia Union at New England Revolution
Saturday, August 28, 2010, 7:30PM, 6abc
Gillette Stadium, Boston, MA

Philadelphia Union Projected Starters (4-11-5)


Orozco F.————Califf————-Gonzalez—————Harvey



————————Mwanga———Le Toux————————

OUT: MF Shea Salinas (L fibula fracture); QUESTIONABLE: FW Alejandro Moreno (R hamstring strain)

New England Revolution Projected Starters (6-11-3)



Nyassi—————Joseph————-Phelan————–K. Smith



OUT: GK Preston Burpo (R leg fracture); FW Taylor Twellman (concussion); DOUBTFUL: MF Jason Griffiths (L hamstring strain); FW Edgaras Jankauskas (L adductor strain); GK Matt Reis (lower back pain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Kevin Alston (L hamstring strain); FW Zak Boggs (concussion); MF Nico Colaluca (R ankle sprain); PROBABLE: FW Kheli Dube (R knee MCL sprain); DF Cory Gibbs (L ankle sprain); MF Marko Perovic (L foot plantar fascitis)

Did you know?

The Revs continue to face an onslaught of injuries. Most importantly for the Union, it’s netminder and former MLS All-Star Matt Reis who will not be in net for New England. Reis is sidelined with back pain and youngster Bobby Shuttleworth will get his second start for the Revs, his first start ending in a 3-0 defeat to the Sounders. MLS All-Star defender Kevin Alston will also miss due hamstring issues.

The Revs come into this game now 8-2-4 vs. expansion squads.

Food for thought, who would you protect come expansion draft time? Better yet – who wouldn’t you mind heading to Portland or Vancouver?

It’s not a fun statistic but the Union haven’t won since July 17th – more than a full month since Philadelphia outlast Toronto FC at PPL Park. Their only road win? Against the Houston Dynamo on May 29th.

Did anyone else almost forget? The Union will take on Mexican powerhouse Chivas Guadalajara on Wednesday, September 1st. Not sure about you but I’d take a win over New England before winning bragging rights vs. Chivas.

Keys to the Win

You have to think that the Union starters were embarrassed after last weekend’s performance vs. cellar-dwellers DC United and are looking to get firmly back on track. Setting the tone early on with relentless attack is great and all if you can finish the chances you do get. Too many times vs. DC there was hesitation after hesitation on the attacking end and somebody with a little urgency has to take hold of things. Let’s also not forget the absence of Marko Perovic who Union fans know all too well for the dipping free kick from 35-40 yards out that left Chris Seitz helpless and flabbergasted.

The answer to this is relatively clear – assuming nobody would have made Califf captain if he couldn’t bounce back after adversity – but will Califf follow his match vs. DC with a solid one against New England? One of the last things the Union wants heading into next season is the sad realization that they hold the Major League Soccer record for fewest shutouts in a season. A good start would be Califf leading the Zolos to one at Gillette tonight.

New England has not been shy about their intentions for tonight especially coming off a winless road trip. They need to win to keep any hopes – though slim – for the postseason alive. The Revs have won their last four at home so a reversion back to early season form has to be in the cards if the Union want to leave Gillette with points. For Philadelphia, it’s more for the late season momentum as making the playoffs looks unattainable this season.

With ten games remaining and the playoffs a distant possibility, expect the young guys to get significant time. Jack McInerney, Amobi Okugo, and Toni Stahl should all see more time than usual as Nowak balances the rest of this expansion season with preparations for 2011.

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