It’s Decision Day in MLS as the Philadelphia Union (15-3-5, 50 Pts 4th Place Eastern Conference) visit New York City FC (15-10-8, 53 Pts, 3rd Place). Every match kicks off at the same time, with the Supporter’s Shield and playoff seedings in the balance.
What’s At Stake:
The Union can wind up anywhere from 3rd to 6th place – see the permutations here – and NYCFC with a W or a D would clinch 3rd place, but could fall as far as 5th.
UNION/NYCFC SERIES HISTORY:
The teams have met only eight times with New York holding a slim 4-3-1 advantage. The Union have never won on the reduced pitch (the MLS minimum 70′ wide) of Yankee Stadium (0-2-1). Their last meeting was a 2 – Nil win by the U at Talen Energy Stadium.
LAST TIME OUT:
Both teams are coming off loses. The Union saw a four MLS match unbeaten streak broken in a 1-Nil loss to New York Red Bulls at home. NYCFC lost 3-1 at DC United, their second L in a row, and have only one W to five L and three D in their last nine MLS tilts.
New York get back at least one, if not two important MF’s from injury in diminutive (5’3″) but effective Maxi Moralez, and Yangel Herrera, a feisty 20 Yr old from Venezuela. They will make it that much harder for the U to mount their high press defensive attack in a game where they need to outscore NYCFC.
Speaking of a youngster, possible ROY candidate, 19 Yr Old D Mark McKenzie, returns to his birthplace to play at Yankee Stadium for the first time. He has been a big presence on the back line since the injury to Jack Elliott, starting and playing all 90′ the last four matches.
This should be a low scoring affair as NYCFC has scored just under a G a game in their last nine matches noted above, while the U have only given up 2G since their last L, before last week, on 9/15. The U have scored in spurts, but were never really close the last match.
Judging from what I saw last Sunday at Talen, and that NYCFC only has to play for the draw, I am going to predict just that at 1-1.