Foxborough, MA – Playoff positioning hangs in the balance on Sunday as the New England Revolution play host to the Philadelphia Union at Gillette Stadium.
Philadelphia finds itself in third place in the crowded Eastern Conference with 38 points from 25 matches, and a win on the road on Sunday will go a long way toward creating some much-needed separation in the standings for Philadelphia.
Last time out, Philadelphia did well to hold Red Bull New York to a scoreless draw at Red Bull Arena, giving the Union their first-ever point on the road against New York.
The Union sat back and absorbed pressure from New York for almost the entire 90 minutes, but they did create the best chance of the game in the 73rd minute when midfielder Sebastien Le Toux smashed a shot off the crossbar.
Defensively, goalkeeper Zac MacMath was called upon to make three saves to preserve his ninth clean sheet of the season, and four in the club's last five matches.
"I think it says a lot about our team, the way we've approached games this year and our mentality coming into a place where we haven't even gotten a point, ever," manager John Hackworth said. "Especially against a Red Bull team that I thought was at full strength tonight and was excellent for long stretches of that match.
"Credit to our guys for really doing a good job defensively. The longer that game went on, I felt like we opened them up a little bit and even had some chances to find one at the end."
Union striker Jack McInerney will attempt to break out of his scoring slump against the Revs, a team against which he has had success in the past. He scored the only goal of the match against the Revs at PPL Park back in March, and nodded home a 90th minute winner last season.
New England, meanwhile, is coming off a 2-0 win over the Chicago Fire last week and needs a victory over the Union to jump into the final playoff spot in the East.
The Revs opened the scoring against Chicago nine minutes after the halftime interval. Chris Tierney played a long diagonal ball over the top and Juan Agudelo raced behind the defense, spotted Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson off his line and swept the ball over the top of him with a clever backheel.
"That was a great goal, and that's what he brings. He brings that little bit that you need. You can see why the premier leagues are asking for him," said goalkeeper Matt Reis. "[Juan Agudelo] does all the things well. He holds the ball up well, he gets behind well, takes people on. He's got the complete package."
New England then put the result away in stoppage time when Kelyn Rowe made no mistake as he pounced on a rebound in the box from a saved Saer Sene shot.
But the Revs will be shorthanded on Sunday as Sene received a red card after the final whistle for a scuffle with Chicago defender Bakary Soumare.
In nine all-time meetings between the clubs, Philadelphia holds a 5-1-3 record, but New England earned its first-ever win over the Union in the sides last match on April 27.