MLS Regular Season | Match #12
New England Revolution vs. Philadelphia Union
Saturday, May 18 | 7:30 p.m. ET
Gillette Stadium | Foxborough, MA

Watch: FREE on Apple TV
English Talent: Chris Wittyngham (play-by-play), Lori Lindsey (analyst)
Spanish Talent: Moises Linares (play-by-play), Pablo Marino (analyst)

Listen: 98.5 The Sports Hub (English) 1260 AM Nossa Radio (Portuguese)
English Talent: Brad Feldman (play-by-play), Charlie Davies (analyst)


New England Revolution
15th in Eastern Conference (2-8-1, 7 pts.)

Last Result | 4-2 loss at New York Red Bulls

The Revolution gave a strong showing last time out against the New York Red Bulls, dominating possession and creating a number of attacking chances, but defensive lapses in critical moments and a questionable penalty call just before halftime ultimately led to a 4-2 defeat in New Jersey.

The loss keeps New England at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, but head coach Caleb Porter did say during the week that he was in many ways happier with the team’s performance in this game than he was with the prior win over Chicago Fire FC. The Revs will also come into the weekend slightly more rested than most of the league, being one of only three clubs that did not feature in midweek MLS action on Wednesday, and hoping to benefit from the comforts of home, particularly as they enter a run of four home games in their next five, and six in their next eight.

Philadelphia Union
9th in Eastern Conference (3-4-5, 14 pts.)

Last Result | 2-1 loss vs. New York City FC

The Union had a strong run going into the start of April, stringing together three straight wins and going undefeated in their first seven games of the season. However, Philadelphia are now winless since their 2-1 away victory over Nashville SC on April 6, most recently falling 2-1 to New York City FC at Subaru Park on Wednesday.

The Union seem to be building a reputation for open games this season, with their 2-0 home win over Minnesota United FC on March 30 being the only match they’ve played all season in which both teams did not score, and one of only two decided by more than one goal. Perhaps surprisingly, Philly also boasts an undefeated 2-0-4 away record so far this campaign, the last team in the league yet to fall away from home.


Revolution forward Giacomo Vrioni
The Revolution’s frontman Giacomo Vrioni netted his second goal of the league campaign at Red Bull Arena last Saturday, a first-time effort off a whipped cross from Ema Boateng that briefly looked to give New England hope toward the end of the game. Caleb Porter said after the match that he had seen moments when passes could have been played to Vrioni but were not, suggesting that the striker had been getting into the right places but that the finishing touches just needed to be tightened up.

Vrioni’s shooting boots will be especially needed against Philadelphia as the Revs’ attack will be a man light on Saturday, with winger Tomás Chancalay suspended for the match due to yellow card accumulation. Porter said in his pre-match press conference on Thursday that he felt that “Vrioni and Carles [Gil] can be more than capable” even in the absence of Chancalay on the wing.

Union midfielder Dániel Gazdag
Philadelphia’s all-time leading goalscorer Dániel Gazdag is also pacing his squad with goals scored this season, racking up seven so far. The Hungarian was confirmed this week to be representing his country in the upcoming European Championship, and will surely be eager to continue his run of attacking form and demonstrate why he’s worthy of his call-up.

Despite being listed on paper as an attacking midfielder, Gazdag’s attacking contributions have been much heavier on the scoring rather than creating side of things, notching only one assist so far this campaign. Philadelphia’s preferred diamond formation with two strikers up front helps to make Gazdag that much more dangerous coming through the middle, and the Revolution’s back line will likely have their hands full on Saturday trying to keep the Eastern Conference’s third-best attack under control.


Revolution head coach Caleb Porter on last Saturday’s loss to the Red Bulls:
“I don’t think it’s a 4-2 game. I thought we played very well for periods. In saying that, I do think we conceded some goals that we can’t concede if we want to get a result in this game, but our attack played extremely well. Red Bull is a team that wants to press. I think we broke their pressure time and again all game long. I don’t see many teams that do that to them. I thought, at times, with losing [Ryan] Spaulding basically a day before the game, we lost that ability with a left-footed left back and a right-footed right back to be able to threaten when we got in good positions. I thought we got in really good positions, we just didn’t always execute the final rotation or pattern of play to create a chance, but we scored two great goals. Again, it’s a game where you leave it frustrated because of the scoreline, but also, I feel like we’re on the right track, playing the way we played. I understand that for people that don’t know the minutia of our game and this game in particular, that might come as a surprise for me to feel that way, but I’ve been in games where we’ve won and not played well. I’ve been playing games this year where we’ve lost and not played well. I thought we did a lot of good things today, but for me, we also gave up some goals that we can’t give up. I did love our mentality to go 1-1. I thought the penalty was very harsh. That’s a big moment in the match as well to make it 2-1 going into the break. I thought at 1-1, we had several good chances to go up 2-1. At 2-1 down, we were knocking on the door at the start of the half and then we give up a goal to go down 3-1, but I loved our response then to come back and go 3-2. We haven’t been able to do that this year. So, these are all things that aren’t going to get lost on me in the progress of this project. But no doubt, the last goal can’t happen, the first goal can’t happen, and those two goals in particular we have to be better on.”

Porter on Giacomo Vrioni’s performance against the Red Bulls:
“He worked hard and I liked that he kept his mentality strong the entire game. He made a few very good runs where he didn’t get the ball. … We had two very good moments in transition actually, where Giacomo makes the run behind. You guys might miss these moments, but if Esmir [Bajraktarević] rolls him in, he’s in on a breakaway, we go up 2-1. There was another one where Esmir was in on the right side, where if he just slides the ball across with his right foot, Giacomo is wide open. Those don’t register as shots. Those don’t show up on expected goals. So, those are things I see that you don’t where you might go, if you watched it, go, ‘Wow he’s in a great spot there.’ We don’t find him though. He’s in a great spot, we don’t find him. So I think, today, I thought he was in good spots. I thought he worked very hard and I’m really glad that his mentality was strong and that he scored that last goal, because I thought he deserved a goal today.”

Porter on Dylan Borrero’s injury at the end of last Saturday’s game:
“[Dylan Borrero] will be fine. It [looked] a lot worse at first… It was a hard knock on, basically, his lateral knee, so it’s a contusion. It was very painful, but he did a little training today. He’s going to continue to progress and we expect that he will be available.”

Porter on the upcoming run of home games:
“It’s an important stretch. I don’t know about ‘make-or-break’, but it’s important for us to pick up points. Obviously, we know that. We know where we’re at. We finished four of the last five on the road, so you have to remember that we had one home game in the last five. Now we have four of the next five at home, two home games in a row, and I think it’s six of the next eight at home. So, it’s a very important stretch, no doubt, because we’re at home so much and because of where we’re at in the league. We can’t play every game in a row; we have to play one game at a time. It’s that simple. We have got to win the next game. When I look at this chunk of games, it’s important to set up and correct where we’re at.”

Revolution midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye on turning performances into results:
“It just means now we need to continue to work on the final third of our game. We created some good opportunities, some half chances. I think we just chose the wrong pass at the wrong time. We weren’t able to create goals from the sustained possession we had and the good build-ups. We’re encouraged with the way we played tonight, in terms of how we were on the ball. Red Bulls, they’re a great pressing team, and I think we did really well to deal with that. You can’t win games unless you score goals. It’s not just on our strikers, it’s also on the entire team to put other guys in better positions so that they can make better decisions leading to better actions leading to goals.”

Revolution midfielder Matt Polster on making the most of upcoming home games:
“You always want to be at home. You want to play where you’re most comfortable, in front of our fans that are always there for us. So yeah, we’re looking game by game. I think it’s just stringing together good performances and I think the results will sway in our favor. Again, I thought we were better in Chicago. I thought we were better in New York. The result just didn’t happen for us on the weekend.”

Revolution defender Henry Kessler on how the Revs plan to defend against Philadelphia:
“[Philadelphia’s] system is really clear. They play that 4-4-2 diamond. They’ve done that for years, two strikers and a 10, so they’ll get numbers in the box. Their wide midfielders get involved, serve early crosses from the outside back, so it’s pretty clear what they are doing and they are pretty good at it. They’ll look to play in behind early, so we need to be ready for that. It’s just pretty clear what they’re doing. I don’t think they deviate too much from it. They’re pretty direct at times, and they’ve had a lot of experience doing so, so they’ve gotten pretty good at it. So, we should be ready for that.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here