Scott Kessler will be providing Philadelphia Union coverage here at Philly Influencer this season. Give him a follow on Twitter.
As the snow falls on a chilly Saturday, the Philadelphia Union are preparing to host the New England Revolution tomorrow afternoon. The game, held at Talen Energy Stadium, is the Union’s home opener for the 2016 Major League Soccer season.
Philadelphia started off the season with a loss in Texas to FC Dallas, who ran the Union’s defense into the ground during a 2-0 loss. A backline featuring rookie right back Keegan Rosenberry, off-season center back signings Ken Tribbett and Anderson Conceição, and veteran left back Fabinho failed to handle the pressure put forth by Dallas’ offensive might.
The Union rebounded last week with a surprising 2-1 victory over the Columbus Crew on the road, upsetting last year’s Eastern Conference champions.
Philadelphia withstood a late game assault by the Crew, giving up a goal in the final 15 minutes, but holding firm well enough at the end to secure three full points in Columbus. The defense was stronger than in the club’s first game, but the Union were still iffy in the back other than the near Man of the Match performance – for the second week in a row – by goalkeeper Andre Blake.
The Revolution bring yet another attacking dynamo to challenge the Union, who are still reeling from the news that team captain Maurice Edu will miss up to four months of the season, due to a left leg stress fracture. Former MLS MVP Lee Nguyen leads a forward line that includes former United States Men’s National Team international strikers Juan Agudelo, Teal Bunbury and Charlie Davies. Another Revolution specter is Diego Fagundez, who two years removed from 13 goals, and who has scored a goal on only two shots-on-target this year.
The outcome of the game for the Union will rest upon the shoulders of Blake, who may well have to save five or more shots again, and Brazilian playmaker Ilsinho. The attacking midfielder has started both games for the Union as the focal point for head coach Jim Curtin’s counter attacking tactics.
The Union and Revolution are scheduled for a 2:30 P.M. start on 6abc.
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