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Know Thy Enemy: Revolution vs. Philly’s Trip To Azteca

The Union have a CCL date at the vaunted Azteca Stadium midweek, and with the East faltering today would be a good day to extend their lead at the top of the standings.

MLS: New England Revolution at Philadelphia Union Mitchell Leff-USA TODAY Sports

Today’s New England Revolution opponent have a unique and fairly rare scheduling dilemma next week - a CONCACAF Champion’s League semifinal match with Club America at the Azteca.

The Philadelphia Union have a potential distraction of that midweek meeting, and a potential for a rather deep squad rotation for today’s match. But the Revs are not without their own issues with Carles Gil’s injury and Tajon Buchanan’s potential transfer exit for this winter.

Throughout this week, a lot of teams in the East have dropped points. Orlando tied both Miami and Cincy, NYCFC tied both Chicago and Toronto and only Philly registered a win midweek with a 3-0 pasting of TFC. So while the Revs have a good chance to erase the ground the Union made up midweek with a win today, it’s not like New England fallen back to the pack with Gil not at 100%.

A win today against a potentially young and inexperienced Union squad would be expected if they do opt to rest a lot of their regulars, and while August would be good time to rack up a lot of wins at home, the key parts of the Revs schedule are still a few weeks away. Mainly their home and home with Orlando City in the final weeks, and a double game road trip in late August into September against NYC and Philly are the big games left on the schedule. Taking results, and hopefully mostly wins, from those matchups would do well for the Revs to cement their place at the top of the East and potentially the Shield races.

But those games are still weeks away, and tonight the Revs once again renew their Liberty and I95 Cup rivalry against the Union. Naturally we talk to our good friend from the Brotherly Game, Joe Lister, as he walks us through the Union’s roster and lineup options for tonight as well as his thoughts on that 3-0 win against TFC midweek.

Be sure to check out my answer’s to Joe’s questions over on their site.

TBM: Now that Philadelphia Reggae Boyz, I mean the Jamaica Union, I mean...dangit, Philly looked really good against Toronto last week. What worked against TFC in that 3-0 game or what was an improvement over the 1-1 draws with Chicago and Miami.

JL: For the Union, it’s really simple: they decided to come out swinging. This whole season they’ve sat back for the first 15-20 minutes of each match and gave their opponent time to put together an early goal. Against TFC, Philly attacked early and often, getting in behind the TFC defense and making them uncomfortable. The Union only scored in the first half, but that fast attack got them three goals and three points. It’s what I’d personally really like to see against the Revs.

TBM: What’s the status of Jamiro Montiero’s transfer saga and what additions have the Union made to the roster at the deadline?

JL: Jamiro Montiero has played his last game with Philadelphia, the club is still taking offers for the midfielder. There are a few clubs interested, but there’s been mostly radio silence since the news first came out.

The Union has signed Jesus Bueno out of Venezuela, but because he’s playing in Philly, he’s dealing with Visa issues. The club was also targeting Matheus Davo out of Brazil on loan, and while he hasn’t been announced, it’s believed that the Union beat the transfer window to acquire him. There are also reports that the Union signed Homegrown Anton Sorenson, though he hasn’t been announced yet either.

TBM: So Philly has a big CCL match at the Azteca midweek, has head coach Jim Curtin hinted about a major lineup rotation at all, and would you or the fans be upset if he “threw” this game against the Revs for a chance to win in Mexico?

JL: Most Union fans would be happy to chop off a limb to get a CCL victory, so they’re more than happy to take zero points against New England if it means having a rested squad against Club America. Curtin has talked about moving some players around and finding them a break. With that being said, Jim Curtin’s greatest enemy is squad rotation. For a club that preaches “play your kids”, they don’t necessarily see a lot of minutes, so a full rotation would mean some guys make their starting debut in New England. I’d expect to see a team made up of 50% first team and 50% subs/reserves.

Lineup/Injuries/Predictions/Etc

Anthony Fontana recently passed another portion of concussion protocol, so he may see time on Sunday. Jack de Vries is still out after not taking the heading test, and Cory Burke is dealing with some “hamstring tightness” but should be good to play.

I’ll be bold and say that this game goes down 1-1, but it’s a good thing that I don’t gamble.

Lineup, though this could be the least accurate lineup ever constructed. Everything outside of the backline + Blake is up for grabs:

Blake

Wagner - Elliott - Glesnes - Mbaizo

Turner

Flach - Aaronson

Sullivan

Burke - McGlynn