With much still left to be decided, the Union and Red Bulls match up this Saturday in New Jersey.
The match is one of two remaining between the two teams, both who only have three total games remaining. For the Red Bulls, they’re playing for a potential bye, while the Union can clinch a playoff spot with a win in this match or three points total in their last three matches. The Union can still finish anywhere from the second seed and a bye to out of the playoffs.
This is a battle of two teams who love to high press. Head coach Jim Curtin made a point to mention how the Union would have to survive the first half hour in the away match to have a chance. Look for Andre Blake to be called on early to keep the U level. The boys in blue will also have to mark set pieces well, as they’ve struggled to do so while New York has been extremely good at taking advantage of set piece opportunities.
The teams have met twice this season. In Open Cup play in Chester, the Union won 2-1 on June 29th. Chris Pontius scored twice early in the second-half to help the boys in blue overcome a first-half Mike Grella strike. A couple weeks later on July 17th, the two teams battled to a 2-2 draw in Chester. Again the U overcame a deficit, this time of the two-goal variety, as the Red Bulls dropped yet more points from a leading position thanks to a CJ Sapong penalty and a Pontius second-half tally.
Prediction: The Red Bulls are too much for the Union early, who can’t quite make it a third straight comeback. RBNY 2, Union 1