By Siobhan Nolan, Contributing Writer
The Union haven’t had a ton of off-time since their win against the Chicago Fire, as they’re jumping right into Week 5 action against the New England Revolution. The two teams faced off six times in 2020, in which the Union won four games, drew one, and lost one—the first-round playoff bout that ended the Union’s season last year.
Despite the sucker punch of a loss last year, Jim Curtin has made it evident that his team is not carrying any grudges into this meeting.
“This game is an opportunity for three points, it’s not an opportunity to avenge last year in the playoffs or anything like that,” Curtin said in a pre-game press conference. “Just two different teams fighting for points, last season is gone.”
However, both teams look slightly different than they did last season. The Union are without their two resident starboys, Brenden Aaronson and Mark McKenzie, while the Revolution will benefit from the addition of Carles Gil, who they were without in 2020. The Union are also relying more heavily on their midfield to create offense, while the Revs’ offense will ensure that the Union’s defense has their work cut out for them during this game.
The Boys In Blue are coming off of a promising victory against Chicago, their first league win of the season, but their performance wasn’t the convincing, powerhouse performance that will instill a whole lot of confidence in the players and fans. The Union can be unbeatable on their day, but their league play hasn’t been consistent enough to go into this matchup with a ton of optimism.
Curtin is all too aware of how tricky this matchup is going to be, and isn’t trying to downplay the opposition’s abilities, nor his own team’s capabilities.
“The Revs are the most dangerous and best team we’ve scouted this year. All of their performances, even in their recent losses. They’re one of the strongest teams in the conference, if not the league, so we’ll have our hands full,” Curtin acknowledged. “We can make the joke about how many times we’ve played them, obviously last year was six. Every game was high intensity, two really good teams competing. The margins were very tight in all, I expect this game to be no different.”
Possible Staring XI: Blake, Mbaizo, Glesnes, Elliott, Wagner, Bedoya, Flach, Monteiro, McGlynn, Santos, Przybylko
- The opposition won’t be seeing any huge variation in Curtin’s lineup this season, but with Martinez still suspended, slight shifts will have to be made in midfield for the time being. It might be a little ambitious to hand Jack McGlynn a second consecutive start, but his debut performance was rife with composure, maturity, and an impressive understanding of the game at the professional level. Putting him up against the Revs is a bold choice, but one that could certainly pay off.
Score Prediction: Both teams are offensively minded, so this could absolutely be a game with quite a few goals. The Union’s forwards seem to finally be finding their footing, and given their recent performances against Chicago and Atlanta United in the CONCACAF Champions League, they’ve proven that the chances are there. All it takes is the finishing. It’ll be a 3-2 battle, but the Union will ultimately claw their way out on top.