With the Philadelphia Union set to face off against the New England Revolution, here’s everything you need to know about the game.
The Ins and Outs
Philadelphia Union (0-0-0) @ New York Red Bulls (0-0-0)
When: Sunday at 5 PM Eastern – Talen Energy Stadium (Chester, PA)
Where to Watch: PHL17
PRO Referees: Head: Rubiel Vazquez, AR1: Craig Lowry, AR2: Adam Wienckowski, 4th: Christopher Penson, VAR: Kevin Terry Jr.
Starting off the Season Right
For the first time since 2015, the Philadelphia Union started off the season at home in Chester. The team will be looking to get the season off to a good start, and that should be possible against another team not predicted to do much this season in the New England Revolution. Brad Freidel will be in charge of his first game for the side, and it will be a cold and possibly rainy match-up between the two eastern conference rivals.
The Union has a starting lineup that will likely see three starters that did not feature for the squad last season in their opener this year. Most notably David Accam at Left Wing in his first official start for the Union. The other two likely new starters are Auston Trusty at Left Center-Back and Anthony Fontana at Attacking Midfield. It seems new Attacking midfielder Bořek Dočkal may be signed by the Saturday game, but he likely will not play or only hit the field in a second-half cameo. The rest of the lineup will be familiar with C.J. Sapong, Fafa Picault, Alejandro Bedoya, Haris Medunjanin, Jack Elliott, Keegan Rosenberry, Andre Blake, and Fabinho rounding out the lineup. Fabinho and Ilsinho both have late preseason injuries, but the former will likely start, and the later will likely sit out the first weekend in favor of Fontana, and Adam Najem on the bench.
For their part, the visitors have had an interesting offseason. A new coach and perhaps a new philosophy in Brad Freidel may breathe new life into the rather lackluster franchise. While Robert Kraft’s other franchise has had much success, his MLS outfit is often the butt of jokes. Most notably this off-season Lee Nguyen tried to force a trade, and the team’s hard-line stance on not letting him leave has infuriated many. His inclusion in the lineup is likely the most intriguing part of their selection.
Keys to the Game: The Union has been an interesting conundrum in the preseason. While at times anemic offensively, they have also managed to put five past Montreal Impact. They have tried some tactical kinks, including heavy fullback offensive output. With the Revolution likely to play defensively the Union will need to unlock the defense, and give C.J. Sapong chances to score. The defense will also have to learn from previous mistakes and not let in late tying goals.
Player to Watch: Anthony Fontana
The lynch-pin to the Union’s Success in this early season matchup will likely be young Homegrown Player, Anthony Fontana. In what will likely be his first start the young midfielder will have to be smart on the ball, and limit his mistakes as he will likely get a lot of chances on the ball.