Mon, 18 Jan 2021

Blake returns as top-seeded Union face Revs

Field Level Media
24 Nov 2020, 07:55 GMT+10

The Philadelphia Union will be looking for their second ever playoff win when they host the New England Revolution on Tuesday night.

The top-seeded Union expect to have stellar goalkeeper Andre Blake in the lineup. Blake missed the last two regular season games with a fractured right hand, sustained Oct. 28. He had stitches removed from his hand last Tuesday.

"Andre has trained fully the last three days and passed every test so far," Union coach Jim Curtin said of Blake, the league's goalkeeper of the year. "He's ready to go."

New England, seeded eighth in the Eastern Conference, won its play-in game with a scintillating 2-1 victory over the Montreal Impact.

Despite winning the Supporters Shield for the first time since the franchise made its debut in 2010, the Union realize how difficult it will be to advance in the postseason.

"You've seen chaos," Curtin said of the playoff games throughout the league. "Let's call it what it is."

The Union won all nine of their home games this season and went 4-0-1 against the Revolution. This will be the sixth meeting between these two clubs this season, as schedules were rearranged to be more regional during the pandemic.

"We still don't want to get caught up reading the headlines, because there's still a lot of work to do," Curtin said. "We've set ourselves up and worked so hard to get home-field advantage throughout the playoffs."

The Revolution pulled out a one-goal win over the Impact with goals by Carles Gil and Gustavo Bou. In fact, Bou's goal in stoppage time gave the Revolution their first playoff win since 2014.

New England, which has now advanced to the playoffs in back-to-back years, will look to advance again.

Gil has rebounded quickly from surgery on his left Achilles tendon in August, and he looked as good as ever in the win over the Impact.

"I needed training," Gil said, alluding to his return on Oct. 24, less than three months following the surgery on the partially torn tendon. "This season, because of COVID, it's been the way it has been, it's been a lot of games at times. I wasn't able to train, I had to play games right away, so I had to gain some rhythm. I feel like I'm at 100 percent again."

Coach Bruce Arena said Gil's progress has been excellent and that he's just about all the way back.

"He had a goal, he obviously can help control the tempo of the game. His passing at times is outstanding," Arena said. "Really good game and obviously the more he continues to play, he's only going to get better because he's basically been out most of the year. So we could see every game there's been a progression."

--Field Level Media

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