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Union-Revolution Preview

AP - Sports

Juan Agudelo provided an immediate boost to the New England Revolution in his return from a lengthy absence.

For an encore, he'll try to help the Revolution come away with a pivotal three points against the stingy Philadelphia Union on Sunday night.

After sitting out two months because of a knee injury, Agudelo scored the opening goal in a 2-0 victory over Chicago on Aug. 17 to help New England avoid a third straight loss.

"He brings that little bit that you need. You can see why the premier leagues are asking for him," goalkeeper Matt Reis said. "(Agudelo) does all the things well. He holds the ball up well. He gets behind well, takes people on. He's got the complete package."

Agudelo, with four goals in 12 matches this season, will next try to lead the Revolution (9-9-6) past a Union team that's posted four shutouts during a 3-1-2 stretch.

Zac MacMath remained among the MLS leaders with his ninth clean sheet Aug. 17, a scoreless draw with New York. He made two key saves in the first half and another in the 63rd minute for Philadelphia (10-7-8).

Coach John Hackworth said that game had a playoff feel and expects another such atmosphere in New England. The Union and Revolution are part of a competitive Eastern Conference postseason race.

"We have to go into a hostile environment and play a New England team that's doing well," Hackworth said. "We're going to have to be really good. I think we're going to have to bring our best, and we're certainly preparing that way."

New England coach Jay Heaps will have a decision on who to start in goal. Reis recorded his third shutout in as many games last week while making his first start since March 23.

The Revolution's other goalkeeper, Bobby Shuttleworth, is among the league leaders with nine shutouts.

"It's a little bit feel. It's a little bit going over a lot of film and just seeing where we might need an uptick in certain areas," Heaps said of his decision-making process. "It's a great little competition."

The Revolution won't have forward Saer Sene, who is suspended after drawing a red card for a postgame argument in last week's victory.

The Revs were 0-5-3 in the series against the Union before a 2-0 home victory April 27.

The teams have split their two meetings this season. Jack McInerney scored one of his team-best 10 goals in a 1-0 victory March 16 but hasn't found the net in the past eight games.

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