Special to CSNNE.com
CHESTER, Pa. – The New England Revolution suffered a 1-0 loss to the Philadelphia Union on Saturday afternoon at PPL Park. Sebastien Le Toux scored the game-winning goal for the Union in the 31st minute as Philly held on for the win.
New England (0-2-0, 0 pts.) saw its modest two-game winning streak against Philadelphia (1-0-1, 4 pts.) snapped after the Revs won the last two meetings in 2013. After playing its first two matches away from home, the Revolution will next open their 2014 home slate next Saturday, when the team hosts Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Gillette Stadium.
Today’s match saw the season debuts for a pair of Revs players who missed the first match. Andrew Farrell came back into the lineup at center back – his first time playing that position professionally – while Lee Nguyen was re-inserted into the central midfield. Both players missed last Saturday’s match in Houston with injuries.
Philadelphia broke through in the 31st minute after a free kick just over the midfield line. The ball was sprayed out to the left wing, where Fabinho played Leonardo Fernandes ahead. Fernandes turned around the downed Farrell and sent a low cross in for Le Toux, who tapped it in from close range for the 1-0 lead.
The Revolution had a chance to equalize in the 38th minute off a restart. Donnie Smith flicked Bobby Shuttleworth’s goal kick right into the path of Teal Bunbury coming down the left flank, in behind the Union’s defense. With Diego Fagundez making a run down the right center channel, Bunbury fed the ball across the face of goal for Fagundez, but his first-timed shot was saved by Zac MacMath. The rebound fell directly to the still-charging Fagundez, but it rebounded off his shin, over the crossbar and out of play.
After trailing in the possession battle in the first half – Philly had 72 percent of the ball in the first 45 minutes – the Revs gained the edge in the second half. Fagundez again had a chance in the 59th minute, but MacMath saved his effort.
Despite the edge in possession, the Revs struggled to break through the Union defense and get more shots on, totaling five for the match.
The Revolution returns to action next Saturday, March 22, when the team hosts Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Gillette Stadium in the team’s 2014 home opener.