New England aim to keep fine run going with first win at Philadelphia

New England Revolution travel to PPL Park on Saturday night to face the Philadelphia Union for the second time this season and will looking for their fourth consecutive win.

The Union will be in better spirits following their impressive 2-1 win at Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday night, but will have to slow down a New England attack that put five past Seattle last weekend.

The Revs can go top of the Eastern Conference with a win, while Philadelphia who sit in seventh, can continue to climb the table with a victory.

It’s the second meeting this season between the sides, with Philadelphia winning 1-0 back in March on home soil, courtesy of a Sebastien Le Toux goal. New England have never won at PPL Park but will fancy their chances of changing that tomorrow.

The Union desperately needed the three points they got on Wednesday night, as they were on a nine-game winless streak heading into the game in Kansas City, and that result will take heaps of pressure off the team.

Though they will still look to build on that win in front of their own fans as they look for what would be just their third win of the campaign.

Maurice Edu will not be available once again, as he is now with the USMNT at training camp in Stanford, while Danny Cruz will hope to keep his place in the side after such a strong showing against Kansas City.

New England are arguably the hottest team in Major League Soccer at this moment in time, and they shocked the league by beating the Sounders 5-0 last weekend, in a dominant counter-attacking display.

This will be a different game, as Philly will sit and absorb the pressure, restricting the Revs chances of hitting them on the counter-attack, and they will need to be patient to break them down.

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(Photo: Lee Nguyen will need to be as influential as he has been in recent weeks)

New England are unbeaten in their past five, and have picked up thirteen points from a possible fifteen in that time.

Rookie, Patrick Mullins will look to add his third goal in as many weeks, while Diego Fagundez and Teal Bunbury will hope to pick up where they left off in last week’s demolition of Seattle.

In the earlier meeting, Philadelphia were good value for their win and dominated possession on that occasion, but with the in-form Lee Nguyen pulling the strings for the Revs, expect this to be a balanced game.

Philadelphia Union host New England Revolution on Saturday night at midnight (UK Time).

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Philadelphia stun Kansas City at Sporting Park

Philadelphia Union travelled to Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday night, and pulled off quite a shock by beating the reigning champions 2-1.

The victory was the first away win for the Union since the 27th September 2013, and they were worth the three points on the night.

Although the game saw the Union make nearly 300 less passes than their opponents, and they only saw 34% of the possession.

Having said that, their defensive display was assured, and going forward they were able to take their chances once they came.

The game started off lifeless, with an outstanding through ball from Graham Zusi that cut open the Philly defence the only highlight.

Kansas City were slow with their build-up play but they managed to control the tempo of the game.

Just after the half hour mark, Kansas City has a glorious opportunity to take the lead, as a move started by Matt Besler found its way to Zusi on the left, and his cross met the head Sal Zizzo, only for it to be cleared off the line.

Philly came out firing in the second half and scored three minutes in, after a break down the left side by Cristian Maidana led to a shot, which was parried by Eric Kronberg, only for Danny Cruz to tap in the rebound.

Kansas City were troubled by conceding the goal, and called on Dom Dwyer in the seventy-first minute to try and change their fortunes.

It took him nine minutes to get on the score-sheet, as a beautiful one-two with Paulo Nagamura was followed by a great strike that ended in the top corner despite Dwyer taking a knock on contact.

However, the lead was short lived as Andrew Wenger managed to bring the ball down in the Kansas City box, and put it on a plate for Maidana, who guided it to the bottom corner just a minute later to restore the Union’s lead.

The drama hadn’t finished there though, after Corben Bone, who had only come on a minute before, was shown a red card for a late tackle on Jacob Peterson.

Philadelphia held on to snatch a vital three points and will take confidence from their best result of the season.

The result leaves Sporting tied atop the Eastern Conference, with Philadelphia moving up to seventh place.

Matt Besler and Graham Zusi now travel to Stanford to join up with the USMNT squad, with the Union’s on-loan Stoke midfielder, Maurice Edu, already there.

Philadelphia host New England on Sunday, while Sporting Kansas City travel to Chicago hoping to bounce back quickly.

Philadelphia have it all to do against Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City host Philadelphia Union tonight, with both sides coming into the game in very different positions.

Kansas City are currently joint-leaders of the Eastern Conference, whereas the Union sit second from bottom in ninth place.

The Union are looking to end a club-record nine game winless streak, but it’s a difficult task against last year’s MLS Cup winners.

Philadelphia have only won one game this season, beating New England 1-0 back in March, and have now lost their last three on the bounce, and have scored just one in their last four.

The Union have scored a goal from open play for six matches, and are in real trouble as they take on an ever-dangerous Kansas City side.

Sporting have won their past two games, keeping a clean sheet in both, and have now shutout their opponents in four of their last five games.

A well organised Kansas City side are clear favourites for this game, and they are yet to lose at Sporting Park this season.

They beat 10-man Montreal Impact on Saturday, in a dominant display that saw English forward, Dom Dwyer score his second brace of the season against Montreal.

Dwyer has now scored six goals this season, and is looking a real threat. Don’t be surprised to see him on the scoresheet once again.

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(Photo: Dom Dwyer is looking increasingly dangerous for SKC)

The Union played with a 4-4-2 formation in Saturday’s 1-0 loss to DC United, but they failed to control the middle of the park and suffered as a result.

This could punish them again tonight, as Oriol Rosell has been brilliant for Sporting, and completed 160 of his 166 passes on Saturday, the highest percentage ever recorded in MLS since Opta began collecting statistics before the 2011 season.

Sporting manager, Peter Vermes was  full of praise for Rosell: “His biggest quality is that he finds himself always in the right positions to receive the ball in space, and always with options once he gets the ball. He knows before he gets it where he wants to play it, so from that perspective that’s one of the reasons why he’s been good in our team.”

The Union have it all to do, but they were in a similar position lasts season when they came to Sporting Park on a five-game winless run, and took all three points in a 1-0 victory.

A result that prompted a three-game unbeaten streak, and Philadelphia desperately need something to go their way again tonight.

Union midfielder Maurice Edu thinks that they just need a bit of luck to go their way: “I think we have to keep our heads up, maybe sometimes is just going back to the basics and grinding results.”

“We are a team that likes to play, but sometimes the best teams do not win the prettiest ways… sometimes it’s just a fluke goal or a set play and you just grind the rest of the game and maybe that is what we need right now,” he added.