Philadelphia Unions kicks off its September schedule with a familiar foe as they welcome the New England Revolution to Subaru Park on Friday evening. The Eastern Conference showdown will be sponsored by Crozer Health and will see the return of the fan favorite Fireworks Night presented by BIMBO following the final whistle. Kick off is set for 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday night and will be available for fans to watch in a variety of ways with PHL17 on TV, PhiladelphiaUnion.com for streaming that's free for fans within the Philadelphia DMA as well as on the radio via FOX The Gambler.
The Union are looking to rebound after a 3-1 set back on the road to rival D.C. United that saw their 10-match unbeaten streak against the I-95 club come to an end. The Boys in Blue sit just three points out of second place in the conference table and will be turning to its depth with seven players away on international duty. The Union will be without Andre Blake, Cory Burke, Alvas Powell (Jamaica), Daniel Gazdag (Hungary), Jose Martinez (Venezuela), Jamiro Monteiro (Cape Verde), Olivier Mbaizo (Cameroon) in addition to Jack Elliott who is out due to yellow card accumulation. Head Coach Jim Curtin will call upon the full depth of his 30-man squad as the club looks to begin September on a strong note ahead of the decisive second leg of the Concacaf Champions League Semifinal on September 15.
Philly and New England have crossed paths twice in 2021 but the budding rivalry still exists after facing off six times in 2020. The two sides first met at Subaru Park in May and ended in a gritty 1-1 deadlock that was full of late drama. Scoreless through 80+ minutes, New England thought they had a smash-and-grab win on their hands when Teal Bunbury slid while shooting and hooked the ball inside Blake’s near post. Undaunted, Philly sought an immediate answer. Kai Wagner flicked a long ball to the corner flag and Monteiro found an extra gear to track it down. Creating space, he floated a cross into the six yard box and Przybylko fearlessly rose to challenge first Turner, then two additional defenders in the air. On his second leap, Przybylko nodded the ball through traffic and into the goal. In the second meeting, Union homegrown Paxten Aaronson netted his first MLS goal via a golazo but the Revs claimed a 2-1 victory courtesy of a Gustavo Bou finished from the penalty spot in August.
The Eastern Conference leaders come into Friday's match with a 15-4-4 record which has built them a 14-point lead in the East and seven points atop Seattle Sounders FC in the chase for the 2021 Supporters' Shield. New England saw its nine-match unbeaten streak come to an end last time out, falling to New York City FC by a 2-0 margin. Like the Union, New England will be missing come key pieces due to the FIFA international break with starting goalkeeper Matt Turner and playmaker Tajon Buchanan away. MVP frontrunner Carles Gil is expected to miss the contest but did return to training with the club on Monday after missing last six matches with a muscle injury.