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New England Revolution Discuss Rivalry With Philadelphia Union
"I think in 2020, we played them six times and they beat us probably five and we beat them in playoffs. Then throughout the years, it's always been a battle of close games at times."
Since 2020, the New England Revolution and Philadelphia Union have been fierce foes. In the first round of the 2023 MLS Playoffs, the Liberty Rivalry will be on display.
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During the COVID season, the Revolution faced off against the Union six times. Dating back to 2020, New England and Philadelphia have played one another 13 times.
With that familiarity can come resentment. On September 4th, 2021, legends were made. Henry Kessler threw a ball into the stands and a certain striker allegedly broke a social media manager’s phone.
From there on the battles between the two sides have always been fierce and close contests. 10 of the 13 matches have been separated by one goal or been draws.
Midfielder Matt Polster discussed the rivalry on Tuesday.
“Absolutely,” the veteran said when asked if the two teams were rivals. “I think in 2020, we played them six times and they beat us probably five and we beat them in playoffs. Then throughout the years, it's always been a battle of close games at times. We've won there before, and we're going to go there and try and do the same thing.”
DeJuan Jones also pointed back to the COVID years as being the fuel that stoked the flames of the rivalry.
“Yeah, seems like during the COVID year we played them like five or six times,” the outside back said. “So yeah, then we knocked them out of the playoffs, I think in one of those years as well, 2020 I believe. So, yeah, we have them in the playoffs again and I’m looking forward to the rivalry continuing.”
The playoffs will only increase the intensity of the matches. Hard tackles will be plentiful and maybe the dark arts will make an appearance once again.
The mind games have already started between the sides. Polster said that the Union might already be doubting themselves after the loss to the Revolution over the weekend.
“When you go into MLS playoffs, it's always an exciting time to finish the regular season in the right way, against an opponent we’ll be facing in the first round is important,” the midfielder said. “I think it puts maybe a little seed of doubt [in their minds]. They're a very good team, especially at home, but maybe we question them a little bit. We had a little tough stretch, but to end the way we did and to put in a very good performance throughout the 90 minutes is a building of confidence for us.”
So get your popcorn ready Revs fans. The first round of the 2023 MLS Playoffs is sure to be a treat.