Philly expecting "dangerous" New England in return to action Sunday
Rested and ready.
That’s the way Philadelphia Union interim manager John Hackworth described his club’s mood heading into Sunday’s showdown with the New England Revolution (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN) at PPL Park.
“It’s been nice to have a week between games and it’s the first time it has happened for us in a month,” Hackworth said. “Our preparation has been more regular but certainly, the opportunity to get out there and compete in an important game, especially after the Red Bull game, we’re ready.”
On July 21, the Union had a three-match league winning streak snapped with a 2-0 loss at New York.
Over the past week, the players have trained and prepared for the Revolution while mixing in a bunch of activities surrounding the All-Star Game at PPL Park.
But now, it’s back to the pitch for an important conference matchup. Three huge points remain up for grabs against New England.
“Coach [Jay] Heaps is in his first year and he’s done a really good job,” Hackworth said. “They have a mix of veterans and some young guys that have shown very well. It’s typical of the Eastern Conference right now, where you have a bunch of teams playing really good soccer. They are like us and have had some up-and-down results, but they have been a really good team.
“We watched a lot of video, and they are really dangerous coming here. We both are in position where we need three points, so I expect to see another game like we have the past couple weekends, where both teams are going after it. It makes for entertaining soccer but more stress on the sidelines.”
The Union could receive a boost from defender Bakary Soumare, who was signed on June 26.
Hackworth doesn’t expect the 6-foot-4 Soumare to start, but said he could be among the gameday roster and enter as a substitute.
“This week has been good for him, having a full week of training with the first team,” Hackworth said. “He’s turned the corner and is now making strides. I think I could put him on the bench possibly on Sunday. I want to make sure he will be fully cleared to do so by our medical staff. From watching him, it’s been great. … In my short amount of time working with Baky, I’m impressed with how professional he has been about it and how attentive he’s been in trying to make sure every little detail is right for him. He looks really good in training and that’s a very positive thing for all of us.”
Midfielder Freddy Adu is also expected back following a one-game suspension for an “internal team matter.”
“Freddy has looked great in training all week long; very focused,” Hackworth said. “He’s doing everything he can to be ready for the game. It’ll be good to have him back.”