Comfortable Enemies In The Liberty Rivalry
It seems as though the Liberty Rivalry is a real thing. The New England Revolution will play the Philadelphia Union for the fourth time this season, including the MLS Is Back tournament. They have had two highly contested regular-season games. The last game ended in a 2-1 win for the Philadelphia Union.
The Union pulled out a last gasp winner in the 95th minute. Philadelphia homegrown Anthony Fontana scored that goal, as well as the 73rd-minute goal to start the scoring in the match. The Revolution ended up down to 10 men in the second half after Matt Polster received a second yellow in the 56th minute. The entire game was full of fouls and cards. The Revolution racked up nine, while the Union ended up with 18 total fouls. The two teams together, including Polster's second yellow, combined for eight yellow cards. Five of those came from the Union racking them up, probably deserving a couple of double-yellow reds throughout the game.
The game on Monday will absolutely be another rough and tumble game. Between all the Revolution-Union meetings this season there have been a total of 72 fouls between the two teams. In each game, the Union had the higher amount of fouls. Bruce Arena will be hoping to use this to his advantage at home and use the set pieces that Philadelphia will allow them during the game. The two teams have traded pretty even possession for each of their matches.
Revolution Offense Providing Wins
Between the last two games, the Revolution have scored five goals. Teal Bunbury contributed two of those goals across two games. Bunbury will look to the score in three consecutive games for the third time in his career. Teal has a streaky record when it comes to scoring, but he is consistent in making shot-creating chances for the team. He also leads the team with goals this year thus far with six total.
Gustavo Bou trails behind Bunbury this year with five total goals. Throughout the season, he had to exist in a playmaker role, where he didn't while Carles Gil was on the field. He will look to get back to his form between the September Montreal and DC United games. He scored in back to back games that week. We'll likely see the usual suspects in the roster for this game after major rotation last game against Montreal. Gustavo will be back with Nguyen to try and connect for some great goals.
Adam Buksa will look to also help the team out with some goals, maybe even an assist. After his man-of-the-match game against Montreal, he will be hoping to continue his form. He scored a goal and assisted Kekutah Manneh in scoring his first goal for the team. Adam and Kekutah will likely be a substitute for tired legs since they were part of the rotation last week.
Philadelphia Union Unbeaten Streak At Three
Philadelphia is coming into this game off of a poor game against a weak DC United side. They allowed DC United to score two goals against them. Wherein the three previous games, DC United was kept to a maximum of one goal. They are in the middle of a three-game unbeaten streak but that is not concerning. The Union has played against DC United, Montreal, and FC Cincinnati. The three of those teams were in bad form when they faced them and Cincinnati was the only team who didn't put up a fight against them.
The team is on two consecutive wins back to back. They head back to Gillette where they have been unable to find consistent ground to stand on. The mixture of those two possibilities will make for a shaky game. The Revs will score two or three goals to continue their offensive strength. The form for Bunbury, Buksa, and Nguyen will continue to help the team push high and cause problems for defenses. Bou will hope to find his form again and help the team in their push.
The defensive form is worrisome without a closer look. The rotated defensive center-back pairing of Mancienne and Delemea will be nowhere near the field unless an injury occurs. Kessler and Farrell are the pairings that kept the team to a 0-0 draw in the first regular-season game against the Union. They were short-handed for the second game due to heading to 10 men. I don't think they'll concede more than once to the strong attacking team of the Union.
The winner of the Liberty Rivalry will be the New England Revolution, 3-1.