Returning to the scene of the crime that was Sunday’s 3-1 loss, the Philadelphia Union face New York City FC once again.
This time though, the rewards of winning are just a bit bigger.
Whats At Stake:
The winner of this playoff knockout round moves on to the Conference Semifinal. This is a home and home round, with the first leg on 11/4, and the second on 11/11. The Union would go on the road to face the New York Red Bulls. NYFC would also be on the road, but against Atlanta United FC
UNION/NYCFC SERIES HISTORY:
See this info as well as my usual team notes area from my preview of the last match here. All of what I said there still stands.
Last time out:
The match was pretty much over in the first 10′ as NYCFC scored twice, and never looked back in the 3-1 W. They Union did not play as a team throughout, even arguing with each other on the field, by the end of the frustrating first half, in which all the scoring took place. This was most notable when F Cory Burke, and MF Borek Dockal got into an altercation just after the whistle. Burke was benched for the second half.
Head Coach Jim Curtin said it was as much for Burke’s play as it was for the tiff, but we will leave that up to all who saw it to decide. Curtin has also said the Burke will start on Wednesday.
As illustrated in the their two meetings this season, scoring first is very important for both of these clubs. Each has just two wins after letting the other team take the lead. As for scoring first, the U have done that 15 times, and NYCFC just twice more.
We have seen this Union team bounce back before from bad losses in this historic season, and I believe they can use last week’s L to help them avoid the mistakes they made on the mini field that is Yankee Stadium.
So in that probably naive vein, I am going to pick the Union 3-1.