Philadelphia Union (4-8-2, 14 points, 6th in East) vs. New England Revolution (4-9-2, 14 points, 7th in East), at PPL Park in Chester, Pa.
All-Time Record: First meeting between the two sides.
3:00 pm ET; 6abc,
Two of the Eastern Conference’s bottom dwellers are set to do battle for the first time ever at PPL Park on Saturday. They find themselves level on points and in dire need of results. The Revs are riding a four-match winning streak across all competitions, while the Union recently dropped a 1-0 result to English giants Manchester United in an international friendly.
It’s been a busy month for the Union as they are finishing up a July that saw them play seven matches. Their form has improved quite a bit as wins over Celtic and Toronto FC showed how well the team can play if they minimize the mistakes. The match will also most likely mark the debut of recently acquired Justin Mapp, who was brought over in a trade with Chicago. Union Coach John Hackworth was delighted with the move:
“This could be a move which can spark his career,” said Hackworth. “You don't always know what's going on with another club. For us to get a young player with a lot of talent we feel is a very good thing."
New England Revolution
The Revs are finally starting to play like the team that went to three straight MLS Cup finals in the last five years. Wins in four straight matches, including an impressive 2-0 upset of the league-leading LA Galaxy, have them playing with confidence ahead of this crucial conference match-up.
What’s more impressive is that the four wins have all been shutouts, with New England outscoring the opposition 5-0 during the stretch.
Heroes & Villains
Justin Mapp vs. Kevin Alston -- Mapp's key task, and that of the midfield in general, will be to provide good service to the Union’s impressive forwards. However, if Philly's newest acquisition lines up in his usual spot on the flank, he’ll most likely be up against All-Star Alston, who is known to shut down players coming down either side of the pitch.
Stat That Makes You Go “Hm...”
Union fullback Jordan Harvey is the only field player on the Union to start all 14 of their matches this season. In doing so, he’s logged an impressive 1,232 minutes.