BOSTON (CBS) — The Revolution are set for some Friday night soccer this week, but the squad will not look like the usual Revolution when they visit the Philadelphia Union.
The first-place Revs will be missing three keys players, with Matt Turner, Tajon Buchanan and Adam Buksa all away from the club to fulfill their international duties. Worth mentioning is the fact that the Union will also be undermanned, with seven players partaking in this month’s World Cup qualifiers.
And while that’s a pretty big trio to be missing for New England, there is a sliver of a chance that Carles Gil could make an appearance on Friday night after he returned to the training field with the Revs earlier this week. Don’t expect a full 90 minutes out of Gil anytime soon, but the best playmaker in MLS could check in as a late sub to give the club a boost late in the match.
The Revs are looking to bounce back after a 2-0 road loss in New York last weekend snapped the club’s nine-game unbeaten streak. So far this season, the Revs have followed up their losses with a 1-0 win over Atlanta and a pair of draws against Philadelphia and Columbus.
“I think we have responded in a positive way each time, because I think when we look at the group and we look at ourselves, we realize what kind of group we have,” midfielder Matt Polster said of the club’s ability to bounce back from a defeat. “We have a lot of really talented players. We have a strong team and we’re always competing for each other. I think we realize in a season, you’re not going to be perfect. It’s very difficult, but we know what kind of group we are and we know we have a lot of talent in this team. We know we can respond on the weekend and we expect to do that with three points.”
New England has faced Philadelphia twice this season, earning a 2-1 win at Gillette Stadium in August. The two clubs played to a 1-1 draw at Subaru Park back in May, which followed New England’s first loss of the season.
Heading into Friday night’s match, the Revs remain atop the Eastern Conference and MLS with 49 points, giving them a 14-point edge in the East. Philadelphia is currently in fifth place in the East with 32 points.
Gustavo Bou: La Pantera scored the game-winner against Philly last month. He had another goal six days later in a win over Toronto — his sixth tally of the season — but hasn’t found the back of the net in his last three MLS matches. New England would like to see Bou’s mini-slump come to an end Friday night.
Tommy McNamara: The midfielder has started three straight and four of the last five matches for New England. McNamara had an assist on Matt Polster’s goal against Philadelphia last month, and scored his second goal of the season two weeks ago in a Revs win over D.C. United.
Emmanual Boutang: He’s started two straight games and will likely have a big role on Friday night. The midfielder didn’t do much against New York City — because nobody did much of anything against New York City — but Boutang had a goal and assist two matches ago against Cincinnati and an assist against D.C. on Aug. 18.
Brad Knighton: The veteran will be back in net in place of Turner, and is looking to build off his strong five-match appearance when Turner was out for the Gold Cup. He had a pair of clean sheets over his five matches, allowing just six goals overall — three of which came in his first half of action in a July 7 loss to Toronto. New England won all four of his other starts in net.
“It’s nice to get another game,” Knighton said earlier this week. “I felt like we did really well as a team when I was in there. Looking forward to getting back out there with the guys, make the most of the opportunity that’s in front of us and get back on the winning track.”
How To Watch
You can catch Friday night’s Revolution-Union match on TV38, with kickoff set for shortly after 7:30 p.m.