New England Soccer Today

First Look: #DOOP

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Following a scoreless draw at home against the Columbus Crew, the Revolution travel to PPL Park to face the Philadelphia Union, who are fresh off their first road win of the season. Kickoff is 5:00 pm on Sunday.

Here are a few things to know about the Union going into Sunday’s match:

*After missing the MLS playoffs last season, the Union have started out in a slump to begin the 2015 campaign. Through six games, the Union are 1-3-2, needing a stoppage time goal for their only victory against NYC FC last weekend. The Union are tied with the Red Bulls in the Eastern Conference in goals scored with 7, but also lead the MLS with 10 goals conceded. They have conceded in every game except for their season opener against Colorado and have conceded multiple goals in four of their six games.

*For the second straight week, the Revolution will play an opponent coming off short rest in their second game of the week. The Union will play a Thursday night matchup at NYC FC before travelling back to Philadelphia for the matchup on Sunday against the Revolution.

*After playing a 4-1-3-2 formation in the season opener, a scoreless draw against the Colorado Rapids, the Union have played a 4-2-3-1 formation the previous five games.

*Since moving to the 4-2-3-1 formation, Fernando Aristeguieta has started four of the games as the lone striker. The Venezuelan forward leads the team in shots (19), shots on target (9), and goals (3).

*Sebastien Le Toux is a strong secondary attacking option on the Union, making an appearance in all six games for the Union so far, rotating between attacking wing positions, striker, and wide midfield. Le Toux also leads the team in minutes with 511 of the team’s 540 and in assists with two. Despite not scoring a goal, Le Toux is tied for second on the team in shots (10) and shots on goal (3), and led the team in 2014 with 12 goals.

*Andrew Wenger, an attacking winger, also poses a threat on offense as he is tied with Le Toux for second on the team in shots (10) and shots on target (3), but also is yet to score in 2015. Wenger was third in the team in goals last season with six.

*Algerian national Rais Mbolhi started the season as the primary goalkeeper, but was benched in favor of former Rochester Rhino and 2014 USL PRO goalkeeper of the year. In his MLS debut, John McCarthy earned his first victory in a 2-1 win over NYC FC. It was the first win of the season for the Union, who were 0-3-2 with Mbolhi at the helm. Mbolhi was acquired last season after the World Cup and only played four games in 2014, and only five games into the 2015 campaign, has reportedly left the country and is Europe, expected to be transferred out over the summer. Former #1 overall Superdraft pick Andre Blake is also on the roster, but is recovering from knee surgery in February, and is expected to back-up McCarthy in the short-term future.

*Union manager Jim Curtin is entering his first full season at the helm. Curtin played 172 games with Chicago Fire and Chivas USA from 2001 to 2009, before being named as an assistant to the Union in November 2012. Curtin took over as interim manager for the Union last year, and after a strong start to his managerial career, was named permanent manager in November 2014. He holds a managerial record of 8-8-8.

*Curtin earned the first win of his managerial career at Gillette Stadium against the Revolution on Jun. 28, 2014. Behind two goals from Le Toux and another from Danny Cruz, the Union were victorious 3-1 in the last matchup between these squads and the only matchup against the Revolution in Curtin’s career.

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