Match preview: Fourth meeting of season with Revolution is for semifinal berth into Open Cup
New England Revolution vs. Philadelphia Union
What: Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal match
When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.; Where: PPL Park, Chester, Pa.; Parking: Lot B only, $15 for general admission
TV: None; Radio: None; Social: Follow the action via Twitter: @TheUMatchday
Advisory: PPL Park gate opens at 4 p.m. for viewing of FIFA World Cup semifinal match between Brazil-Germany
Mass transit: Shuttle service from Chester Transportation Center to PPL Park will begin at 3 p.m.
What better way to beat the sting of a weekend loss than with midweek and weekend wins at home?
That’s what the Union hope to do when it takes on New England – this time in U.S. Open Cup action – Tuesday night at PPL Park (7 p.m., purchase tickets), followed by another home match against Colorado on a “Salute to Service” Night presented by Toyota (7 p.m., purchase tickets).
A week earlier it was the Union coming up on the positive side of a 3-1 final in Foxboro, Mass. against the Revolution in MLS action, but found a five-game win streak in all competitions snapped over the weekend after a Union own goal provided FC Dallas with a 2-1 in Frisco, Texas.
Ironically, just like the Union having to face an opponent back-to-back in both MLS and in Open play in New England, the same scenario could conceivably happen again with Dallas. If the Union pulls off a win over the Revolution to move on to semifinal play, the Union will play the winner in another quarterfinal pairing between FC Dallas and Carolina RailHawks on Aug. 12.
Both games will be away matches for the Union but if the opponent is Dallas, that match will be at 9 p.m. at Toyota Park in Frisco. A closer trip would be playing at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C., the home turf of the RailHawks. That match is set for a 7:30 p.m. start.
However, it’s not time to look past New England, a team that will be coming in looking to avenge a loss from two weeks prior.
“Knowing that we can stay compact and play good defense,” said Union defender Sheanon Williams. “Just have to take the positives and move forward, especially with the quick turnaround on Tuesday. Forget about it, get recovered and get ready for this next game.”
Consistency has been the key to Union interim manager Jim Curtin’s lineup, so it’s likely many of the players that have featured in the team’s strong start since Curtin took over will remain as the Union will need to bring its best against a high powered New England team that has found a way to pull off close victories since entering this tournament in the fourth round. It was a 3-2 win over Richmond, followed by a 2-1 victory over Rochester in fifth round play.
This will be the fourth meeting of the season in all competitions between these two, so it’s no secret that the Revolution packs a ton of firepower in their attack. Spearheaded by playmaking midfielder Lee Nguyen, players like fellow midfielders Daigo Kobayashi and Diego Fagundez are also put in behind forwards that can score.
“I still think we’re creating a lot of chances on the road but I think we can improve the final ball,” Curtin said of his squad. “[In the match against Dallas], we played in the wide spots but I thought the crosses and final ball let us down a little. We created enough [chances] to get results but the way our league is, anybody can beat anybody and so we’ll need to be ready and aware of that in these next two upcoming games.”
The Union will be without midfielder Michael Lahoud, who is carrying a red card from the fifth round clash against the New York Cosmos. The team trained Monday with a few pieces in at that defensive holding midfield spot, so it’ll be interesting to see who Curtin trots out.
Regardless of the lineup know that it’s shaping up to be a full day of soccer at PPL Park. With FIFA World Cup action continuing tomorrow, the stadium will open at 4 p.m. for fans to view the semifinal between Brazil-Germany. Only the PPL Park gate will be open as all other gates open at their normal times.
What do you think this matchup presents for the Union? Leave a comment below.
Contact Union digital editor Kerith Gabriel at email@example.com