The New England Revolution have traveled down I-95 to Chester, Pennsylvania to take on the Philadelphia Union on Sunday night at PPL Park. PPL just played host to Chelsea FC and the MLS All-Stars on Wednesday.
The Revs drew Sporting Kansas City in Kansas City 0-0 last weekend, snapping a two-match losing streak and earning their first road shutout of 2012. Philly, on the other hand, just lost to New York last Saturday 2-0 as John Hackworth struggles to rebuild a side decimated by early-season mismanagement.
Philadelphia's defense is not a poor unit. Center back Carlos Valdez just made an appearance in the All-star game, and the back line as a unit has only conceded 21 goals all year. For the Revolution, the key is going to be forcing mistakes. The one thing the Union has shown is that, as a younger unit that lacks veteran leadership, the defense is vulnerable to making fatal miscues, and second-year goalkeeper Zac MacMath has made several high-profile gaffes already. Attackers like Saer Sene and Lee Nguyen need to display a killer instinct in front of goal to capitalize.
Defensively, the Revs have to worry about several very talented attackers, and none more than playmaker Freddy Adu. Adu has been experiencing a resurgence in the past month or so under Hackworth, displaying the talent and potential that earned him an MLS contract at age 14. Apart from Freddy, forwards Lionard Pajoy and Jack McInerney have shown flashes of danger this season, and joint leading scorer Gabriel Gomez has a lethal touch.
Clyde Simms was listed as probable on Friday as he recovers from his calf problem, while Benny Feilhaber is questionable with an ankle sprain. However, both players traveled with the team to Philadelphia and may get the start. Darrius Barnes and Diego Fagundez are questionable as well.
Interestingly, Jose Moreno was excused from traveling with the squad for personal reasons. He will not be included in the active roster for the game.
The Union took last season's series, leaving the Revolution with an 0-1-1 record. The Revolution lost at home 3-0, and then blew a 4-0 first-half lead to draw 4-4 in Philadelphia.
The match will be televised live at 7 PM on the NBC Sports Network. The radio call will be handled by 98.5 The Sports Hub.