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NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION

October 5, 2012
COUNTDOWN
Philadelphia Union next opponent as Revs run out the string on a lost season

By Adam Burrows
New England Soccer News Contributor

Kevin Alston is one of the last men standing on the Revolution’s injury-battered backline.
Kevin Alston is one of the last men standing on the Revolution’s injury-battered backline.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Three games to go for the New England Revolution in another lost season. None of them will be easy for the depleted side, which is winless in its last three outings and has won only once in its last 14.

The Revolution (7-16-8, 29 points) continue on the road this Saturday night against the Philadelphia Union (9-15-6, 33 points) at PPL Park (CSN, 7:00 ET), then return to Gillette Stadium after the international break to host the Chicago Fire on October 20th before closing out the season a week later against the Montreal Impact at Stade Saputo.

The Union also have been eliminated from playoff contention, but they have enjoyed a decent run of form lately, winning two of their last three games, all solid efforts against playoff contenders.

Philadelphia stunned the Chicago Fire 3-1 on Wednesday at Toyota Park, ending the hosts' six-game home winning streak and spoiling their chance to clinch a postseason berth. Jack McInerney, firmly established at center forward for Philadelphia, opened the scoring with his sixth goal of 2012 and assisted on the second and deciding score.

The Union have endured a contentious season, starting with former head coach Peter Nowak’s controversial overhaul of last year’s third place, 11-8-15, 48 point team that made it to the conference semifinals on their sophomore flight, dropping a pair of one-goal matches to eventual MLS Cup runner-up Houston.

A reconfigured Union minus 2011 offensive leader Sebastien Le Toux lost eight of their first twelve 2012 matches (2-8-2) leading to Nowak’s sacking and replacement by John Hackworth.

In Hackworth’s second outing on the touchline, Philadelphia routed Sporting KC 4-0, and the former US Men’s National Team assistant and U17 head coach has gone on to settle the Union unrest, compiling a respectable 7-7-4 record since taking the reins.

But although the on-field free fall stopped, the controversy surrounding Nowak hasn't.

In July, Nowak filed suit against the Union, claiming wrongful termination and withholding of severance pay. The team counterattacked, claiming that Nowak had berated and intimidated employees. The case is headed for arbitration. Meanwhile allegations have emerged that Nowak may have improperly profited from player transactions.

In three years of Northeast corridor meetings, the Revolution has never beaten the Union (0-3-3).

Under Hackworth this year, the Union came from behind to defeat the Revolution 2-1 at PPL Park on July 29th on a late strike by McInerney, and the two teams played to a drab scoreless draw at Gillette Stadium on September 1.

The Revolution are limping to the season’s finish line and will face the Union without offensive leaders Saer Sene and Lee Nguyen, both lost to season-ending surgery, and defenders Stephen McCarthy, Flo Lechner, and Chris Tierney, all hobbled with injuries.

A calf strain has Clyde Simms listed as doubtful for Saturday with his status described as “day to day.” Late season acquisition Juan Toja, who is still working his way back to full fitness, played the entire second half in last week’s 2-0 loss in Houston and may get the nod in midfield.

Bobby Shuttleworth is likely to make his third consecutive start in goal as Head Coach Jay Heaps considers his options for next year.

Boston native Sheanon Williams, who has started 27 games for the Union at right back, is suspended for the match because of accumulated yellow cards.



   
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