Union-Revolution Preview

Juan Agudelo provided an immediate boost to the New England

Revolution in his return from a lengthy absence.

For an encore, he’ll try to help the Revolution come away with a

pivotal three points against the stingy Philadelphia Union on

Sunday night.

After sitting out two months because of a knee injury, Agudelo

scored the opening goal in a 2-0 victory over Chicago on Aug. 17 to

help New England avoid a third straight loss.

“He brings that little bit that you need. You can see why the

premier leagues are asking for him,” goalkeeper Matt Reis said.

“(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.”

Agudelo, with four goals in 12 matches this season, will next

try to lead the Revolution (9-9-6) past a Union team that’s posted

four shutouts during a 3-1-2 stretch.

Zac MacMath remained among the MLS leaders with his ninth clean

sheet Aug. 17, a scoreless draw with New York. He made two key

saves in the first half and another in the 63rd minute for

Philadelphia (10-7-8).

Coach John Hackworth said that game had a playoff feel and

expects another such atmosphere in New England. The Union and

Revolution are part of a competitive Eastern Conference postseason

race.

“We have to go into a hostile environment and play a New England

team that’s doing well,” Hackworth said. “We’re going to have to be

really good. I think we’re going to have to bring our best, and

we’re certainly preparing that way.”

New England coach Jay Heaps will have a decision on who to start

in goal. Reis recorded his third shutout in as many games last week

while making his first start since March 23.

The Revolution’s other goalkeeper, Bobby Shuttleworth, is among

the league leaders with nine shutouts.

“It’s a little bit feel. It’s a little bit going over a lot of

film and just seeing where we might need an uptick in certain

areas,” Heaps said of his decision-making process. “It’s a great

little competition.”

The Revolution won’t have forward Saer Sene, who is suspended

after drawing a red card for a postgame argument in last week’s

victory.

The Revs were 0-5-3 in the series against the Union before a 2-0

home victory April 27.

The teams have split their two meetings this season. Jack

McInerney scored one of his team-best 10 goals in a 1-0 victory

March 16 but hasn’t found the net in the past eight games.