For the first time since 2011, their second season, the Philadelphia Union (3rd Seed Eastern Conference) will play a home match in the MLS Cup Playoffs. They will host the New York Red Bulls (6th seed) for their third attempt to win the title.
Union/New York Red Bulls Series History:
Philly has not fared well against the Pink Cows, 7-14-5 overall, outscored by 10 G, but they are an almost respectable 6-6-2 at Talen Energy Stadium, even on G at 22 apiece. This season they each won their home matches, 3-2 at Talen on 6/8. and 2-Nil at RBNY on 9/22.
The teams have never met in the playoffs.
In the aforementioned only home playoff appearance for the U, they went on to lose both legs against the Houston Dynamo in a 3-1 aggregate defeat. Philly also had one and done appearances in 2016, a 3-1 loss at Toronto FC, and last season by the same score at NYCFC.
The Red Bulls have extensive playoff experience making it at least to the Quarterfinals every year since they came into the league in 2006, except in 2009. Their only trip to the Final was in 2008, where they lost to Columbus Crew 3-1.
Whats at Stake:
The winner of this match will play at Atlanta United FC (2nd seed) on 10/24 @ 8:00 PM on ESPN2.
New York Red Bulls Notes:
The obvious man to mark is MF Daniel Royer who leads the team in G (11) two of them GWG, as well as tied for lead in A (8) four were on GWG. He scored in the 2-Nil loss in N.J.
New York does have to deal with two injures: MF Florian Valot and D Amro Tarek, but they are not major players, and should not hamper them.
The two weeks off really helped the Union get healthy. The only concern is F Kacper Przybylko who is fighting off a foot stress reaction. Philly really need him on the pitch to have a chance. Head Coach Jim Curtin seemed pretty positive about him playing in the Wednesday presser:
“There’s a plan in place for him. He was out on the field doing things on the side, but there is certainly a plan in place and that fully involves him starting Sunday,” Curtin said. “Everything has gone according to plan so far and there’s been no setbacks, no surprises. The plan is clear in his head. The plan is clear in our medical staff’s head. It’s clear in my head. That’s what we’re sticking with now.”
This should be a closely marked game with two teams who play a similar style, and know each other well.
The atmosphere at Talen should negate the playoff experience for RBNY, so I am calling for a 2-1 Union W.