Bruce Arena’s New England Revolution have now gone four matches unbeaten, turning around a four game losing streak that ran through most of March and scraping their way back to the fringes of the Eastern Conference playoff picture. 

The defense still allows too many multiple goal games, but the attack is now able to punch back with enough power to keep the defending Supporters’ Shield winners in matches. Last weekend, a late Tommy McNamara goal proved decisive as the Revs knocked three past a Cincinnati side that had only allowed two goals in their previous four matches. 

The focal point of the New England attack is Adam Buksa. A big, tenacious striker like Buksa can thrive with strong service and both Brandon Bye and Carles Gil have provided that all year. Gil’s 43 key passes nets out to 3.7 per match, according to AmericanSoccerAnalysis, making him the most prolific creator in MLS. Meanwhile, Bye’s 2.3 key passes per match matches Kai Wagner’s output. 

Buksa, however, needs help. Jozy Altidore, Justin Rennicks, and Gustavo Bou have combined to take on about 1,000 minutes this season and provided only two goals. 

This match, then, comes down to whether the Revs attack can bully Philly’s excellent defense or if the Union can find the goals they’ve struggled to convert over the past month. 

The Union have become reliant on Daniel Gazdag and Julian Carranza to do their finishing, but in Sergio Santos, Cory Burke, and Mikael Uhre they have a trio of strikers who have proven they can score goals. Santos’ goal on Sunday against Portland was followed by an early injury exit so it may come down to Burke and Uhre to partner with Carranza.

Another key for Philly will be ensuring a tight shape in transitions. New England is most dangerous going forward when they find Gil in space, but the Union have three high-energy midfielders who rotate extremely well in place to track the playmakers’ movements. If Gil can face up defenders with overlapping runs, even Jack Elliott and Jakob Glesnes will struggle to protect the box against Bruce Arena’s side. 

The last two Supporters’ Shield winners face off this Saturday, May 28th, at 7:30 p.m. on PHL17 and PhiladelphiaUnion.com

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The For U kit pays homage to the early days of the Union and was designed with the help of the fan-based Creators’ Collective to feature details reflective of the city and its fans.