Philadelphia Union at New England Revolution
When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass.
TV: Comcast SportsNet with play-by-play man JP Dellacamera and color analyst Alejandro Moreno; Radio: None.
Referees: Baldomero Toledo (main), C.J. Morgante (linesman); Brian Dunn (linesman); Mathieu Bourdeau (fourth)
All-time: (eight meetings): Revolution: zero wins (seven goals scored) vs. Union: five wins, three ties, (14 goals scored)
Everything points to a Philadelphia Union victory.
The Union travel to Foxborough, Mass., to face the New England Revolution on Saturday.
This much is known: The Union are 5-0-3 all-time against the Revolution; New England is 1-3-2 this season with a miniscule two goals scored in those six matches.
Philadelphia is 3-2-2 and coming off an impressive 3-2 victory at D.C. United.
What does it all mean? Virtually nothing.
There’s a reason games are played on the pitch and not in statistics leading up to the match.
“Stats are deceiving, especially in this league,” Union manager John Hackworth said. “It’s early in the season and teams are still trying to find their way. With an early start to the season, you’re starting to see more teams struggle early, but history will tell us that talented teams with a good infrastructure will be there at the end of the day.
“We don’t take it for granted. You have to prepare like the opponent you’re playing is in top form. When you do that, you respect them more and that’s the most positive approach you can take.”
D.C. United had been scuffling before their match against the Union at RFK Stadium.
And what transpired?
It wound up being a hard-fought match with playoff intensity. The statistics meant nothing leading up to it.
“We know it’ll be a game similar to D.C.,” said forward Jack McInerney, who scored two goals at D.C. United and leads the Union and MLS with six goals. “They are going to fight and do everything they can to get points. If we come out like we did last week, we’ll be alright.”
Still, the Union will enter this match as a confident side. Much of that has to do with their road success this season – wins at D.C. United and Colorado and a draw at Columbus.
“Maturity and keeping the guys together,” Union defender Ray Gaddis said, referring to the road success. “Last year, you would see us go on the road and not get a result in games like we did this year in D.C. and Colorado. We would concede a goal or wouldn’t score a goal. It’s maturity. A lot of us have grown up. We’re taking responsibility this year. We have a young team but we’re embracing what has been put on our shoulders.”
One more victory and the Union can match last year’s win total on the road.
“We want to continue that,” Hackworth said. “It’s not a fluke that we’re doing things better. We’ve tried to be consistent about the way we play and approach these games. We hope we can continue that this weekend.”
It will be a match filled with emotion following the tragic bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
“New England comes off a game where they played good against New York but were a little unlucky,” Hackworth said. “I think we’ll see a different lineup. It’ll be at home so they will have a huge emotional day at Foxborough, the first sporting event held there since everything happened in Boston. We won’t just have to deal with the opponent but the emotions on the day.”
Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at email@example.com