U.S. Open Cup: Philadelphia Union vs. New England Revolution Preview


Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

For the second time in just ten days, the Philadelphia Union and New England Revolution will line up across from each other. In the quarterfinal of the U.S. Open Cup, the sides will compete for the fifth time since the season began.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Baxter Colburn and preview the win-or-go-home match-up from both sides. Baxter did the honors or previewing for the Revs, while I took on the task of doing too same for the Union.

New England Revolution Preview

New England faces an incredibly familiar opponent tonight in their U.S. Open Cup match. Not only is the match against the Union, a bitter rival of the Revolution, but it is a Quarterfinals match-up. Each team has worked incredibly hard to get to this point and knows it could all be over tonight if each squad does not perform to the best of their abilities. These two squads also meet just 10 days ago, resulting in a 3-1 Union win.

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New England is certainly an underdog in this match because of their recent slump in form. Coach Jay Heaps knows how important a win tonight would be, not only for the tournament, but to also get the team back in winning form. Rookie Forward Patrick Mullins needs to find his scoring touch again after having a terrific start to his MLS campaign. Along with that, Diego Fagundez also needs to rekindle his scoring touch for the Revs. If both players find the net tonight, it is almost certain that New England will win the match.

Keys to Success

  • High pressure to force Union into mistakes in midfield and defensive third
  • Get contributions from wide players
  • Contain Sebastian Le Toux

Key Players: Patrick Mullins, Diego Fagundez, Andrew Farrell, and Kelyn Rowe

Philadelphia Union Preview

For Philadelphia, the task is simple: keep the momentum going. Since Jim Curtin took over the team after the firing of John Hackworth, the Union have lost just once. Curtin has pulled all the right strings with his side thus far, and I don’t expect anything different tonight.

Sebastian Le Toux has played hero for the Union recently and even managed to tie the US Open Cup scoring record after netting his 13th last time out. When these teams last met on June 28, Le Toux netted two goals to lift Philadelphia to a 3-1 victory. Of course, New England will have studied form, developed a new game plan to stop him, but it will be the veteran forward that this young Philadelphia continue to look to for production.

In terms of containing New England, the midfield and fullbacks will have their hands full trying to slow down Lee Nguyen in the middle pulling the strings, wide players such as Fagundez, and workhorse forward Mullins. Expect the Union to try to string long stints of possession together and force their creative players to defend and head back toward their own goal to get touches on the ball.

Simply put, if Philadelphia can hold the ball effectively and get their clever players such as Cristian Maidana and Vincent Noguiera on the ball, they will give themselves a good chance at moving on to the semifinals.

Keys to Success

  • Get Le Toux going early.
  • String together long periods of possession.
  • Force New England’s wide players to track back defensively by countering effectively.

Philadelphia Union Key Players: Sebastian Le Toux, Zac MacMath, Amobi Okugo, Vincent Noguiera