PBPP: Not Too Much Separates NE and PHI
When you look at all of the
numbers, very little separates the Philadelphia Union from
tomorrow’s opponent, the New England Revolution. Both teams have 14 points this season, and each has had to deal with defensive
problems resulting in 26 goals allowed. Only DC United have given up
more total goals, but they have played more games than Philly and New England.
Both are led by experienced, talented coaches. When people talk
about the Revs' Steve Nicol, and the Union’s Peter Nowak, it’s usually in a
discussion about who some of the better coaches/managers are in MLS.
The one thing that currently
differentiates these two clubs lies in the offense. New England lacks a dynamic player along the lines of
Sebastien Le Toux. They don’t have
a player at the moment who can lift a team the way that Le Toux does. Fresh off an appearance as a starter in
Wednesday’s MLS All Star game, Le Toux is tied with Landon Donovan, Edson Buddle and Fredy Montero for best combined offensive
numbers in the league, registering seven goals along with the same number of
assists. His game might become
even better now with Philadelphia’s recent midfield acquisitions, Eduardo Coudet and Justin
As I look forward to
Saturday’s game at PPL Park, here are some things to look for in the Revs at
- Do newcomers Mapp and Coudet
start in this game, or see action as reserves?
- If either or both start, who
comes out of the lineup?
- Rookie matchup is a good one
with Philadelphia’s Danny Mwanga and New England’s Zack
Schilawski among the top Rookie of the Year candidates
- Will there be any rust from
either team as Philly hasn’t had an MLS game since July 17 vs Toronto, with the
Revs' last MLS game coming back on July 10 vs Los Angeles?
- Can the Union break down a
New England defense that is coming off of four consecutive shutouts, one in league
play, the other three in SuperLiga? The Revs haven’t given up a
goal in their last 365 minutes of competition. Getting back goalkeeper Matt Reis and central defender Darrius
Barnes from injury makes them better defensively.
Key players to watch on
- Le Toux for obvious
reasons. His numbers are great,
his constant effort and consistency might be even greater.
- For New England it’s Shalrie
Joseph. For my money he’s the best
defensive midfielder this league has ever had. The Union will have to earn their space in the midfield
tomorrow as there are no easy days when you go up against New England’s feared
See you at the stadium.