As far as struggling teams go, few in MLS top the Philadelphia Union and New England Revolution right now. Neither has won in their last six matches and that skid will continue for at least one of those teams, if not both, when they square off at PPL Park on Wednesday night. Another loss wouldn't be much of a blow to New England, who have been out of the playoff race for a while, but it could be a crippling loss for Philadelphia that continues their free fall.
That the Union are even in a playoff battle is a little shocking. Before their recent six-match losing streak, they were atop the Eastern Conference and looking like the only team in the conference that might not be a complete embarrassment. Instead, they have proven themselves to be just like the rest of the conference and that is not a good thing. They're out of an automatic playoff spot now that they are fourth in the East and both the New York Red Bulls and DC United are on their heels. It's not hard to imagine them falling into sixth place before long.
If Philadelphia is going to turn things around they will need their defense to show up. The Union haven't pitched a shut out in MLS play since July 17 and things will not get any easier with a new goalkeeper in the mix. Faryd Mondragon is out for four weeks after undergoing surgery on his finger and now the Union will turn to Zac MacMath. As Jeremiah Oshan points out, they'll really need MacMath to be even better than Mondragon was, which is a tall task for a player who will become the youngest goalkeeper to start a match this season when he takes the field on Wednesday night.
Meanwhile, the Revs are a lost cause. They are at the bottom of the East, look set to lose Shalrie Joseph in the offseason and continue to drift along in a cavernous football stadium with seemingly disinterested ownership. It's a nightmare and it doesn't look like it will get any better. All they can really do is play out the year and hope for a miracle this offseason.
MacMath is a fantastic shot stopper, but organizing the defense is another issue. That is why the hapless Revs will get a goal, but they're still as hapless as ever in New England. Toss in the home field of PPL Park and the Union have a couple in them to get them three points. It's a strange midweek match for the two and the only midweek match in the league, but Hurricane Irene came through and forced this match to be postponed from its original date so here we are on a Wednesday night.
Time: 8 p.m. ET; Pick: Union 2-1.