Short-handed Union eyeing sweep of Revolution
Posted on: 07 Nov, 2023 at 10:29 PM
Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports
The Philadelphia Union will try to close out their first-round MLS Cup playoff series with the New England Revolution on the road Wednesday night in Foxborough, Mass.
But if they're going to sweep the best-of-three set, they will have to do it short-handed.
Union starting defender Kai Wagner was given a three-match suspension after admitting he directed a racial slur toward New England's Bobby Wood during Match 1.
And Julian Carranza -- whose 14 non-penalty-kick goals lead the fourth-seeded Union -- is questionable after he had to depart with a hamstring injury in the second half of Philadelphia's 3-1 victory to open the series.
"Julian will be a game-time decision for us," coach Jim Curtin said on Tuesday afternoon. "He's started training a little bit with the group but hasn't really fully pushed off and really opened up in big spaces. He wants to be a part of the game and has been a huge part in our success this year, so we'll make a decision now after they are done putting him through some tests."
The news appears to be better for New England's Carles Gil, the 2021 MLS MVP who exited in the first half of the series opener with his own leg issue. Interim coach Clint Peay said in a radio interview last week that the matter appeared to be more of a scare than anything.
Gil led the fifth-seeded Revs with 11 regular-season goals, his MLS career high, and 15 assists during a season when striker Gustavo Bou's availability has been limited and other attackers have been inconsistent.
New England has already weathered an investigation into now-former coach Bruce Arena over alleged inappropriate remarks and is now playing for its second interim coach in Peay.
It's not ideal, but it's also added a sense of resiliency to the group, said defender Matt Polster.
"We've dealt with a lot of things internally as a group. Things we've had to look past and deal with and then just focus on the thing in hand which is just winning a soccer game," Polster said. "There's moments when we've shown we can claw our way back from anything."
--Field Level Media