Match previews

Match preview: Philadelphia Union vs. New York Red Bulls

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Who: Philadelphia Union (1st place, 28 points, 8-4-4) vs New York Red Bulls (4th place, 24 points, 7-5-3)
What: 2019 regular season game
Where: Talen Energy Stadium, Chester, Pa.
When: Saturday, June 8 at 7:30 pm
Watch: PHL 17, ESPN+
Whistle: Kevin Scott, Andrew Bigelow (AR), Jeremy Keiso (AR), Eric Tatterall (4th)

Philadelphia will be hunting for all three points at home against a strong New York Red Bulls side, especially after winning an important away match against Minnesota United last weekend. The Union currently sit at 1st place, and will certainly be fighting to stay on top against the Red Bulls, who are at their heels with just a four point gap separating the two. With both teams fighting for supremacy in the East, this game should be the quintessential exciting, face-paced, end-to-end MLS match.


Scouting report: New York Red Bulls

The New York Red Bulls have climbed to 4th place in the East, and will certainly have their eyes set towards the top. Kaku (Alejandro Romero) and Daniel Royer both had outstanding matches against Real Salt Lake last weekend, and will be looking to capitalize against the Union’s young – and sometimes error-prone – defensive line.

The Red Bulls are playing aggressive and effective attacking football as of late, and will definitely be hunting for an early goal at Talen Energy Stadium to get the lead. Unbeaten in their past five matches, they will be happy to try their odds for all three points away from home, which should see both teams enjoying an open and fast-paced match. Emphasis will be placed on finishing chances, as the Red Bulls shoot more than half their shots at close range in the 16-yard box but also create some of the most long-range goals in the league. This dual threat has made the Red Bulls’ offense dominant against complacent opponents.

Therefore, a lot will fall on the Union’s midfield to provide sufficient cover for their backline to withstand New York’s counters and attacking drives, especially within Philadelphia’s high-risk, high-reward fast-transition system. The Union midfield must be able to provide reliable cover and the backline has to patch up vulnerabilities before they are punished, if they hope to earn a win against a strong Red Bulls side.

Injury report:

OUT: M – Florian Valot (torn ACL)

QUESTIONABLE: D – Aaron Long (hamstring injury); M – Vincent Bezecourt (knee injury); F – Bradley Wright-Phillips (groin injury);

Suspension report: None

Scouting report: Philadelphia Union


Philadelphia Union have been performing more strongly than ever, coming out on top of the East for the second time this season. A new sporting philosophy that has produced exciting and fast-paced football, a deep squad that has been able to rotate and seize opportunities effectively, and a hunger to succeed have all created the convergence of conditions needed for the Union to surpass expectations. A captivating late away victory against Minnesota last weekend was enough to turn the tide for a Union that was becoming complacent at home, and recapture the brilliance that launched them to the top of the East in the first place.

The major question this weekend will be whether or not the Union can replicate their success against a team of New York Red Bull’s caliber, especially at home, where their fans have been clamoring for a resounding win for weeks now.

The entire Philadelphia Union squad did an outstanding job at stepping up last weekend, with a diverse range of goals from Monteiro, Medunjanin, and Trusty. At this point of the season, 8 out of 11 of the Union starting line-up have contributed at least one goal, highlighting the depth of the squad. If the Union can capitalize on their opportunities and put an early goal away, it will be a difference maker. If they hesitate, the Red Bull will be more than happy to punish them with their effective offense.

Injury report:

OUT: None

QUESTIONABLE: F – Fafa Picault (right quad strain)

Suspension report: None

Key matchup: Jamiro Monteiro vs Kaku

The Dutch-Cape Verdean midfielder has been outstanding for Philadelphia, impressing with his agility, work rate, and distribution. A significant portion of the Union’s chance for success on Saturday will fall on how Monteiro is able to distribute the ball to the Union’s front line and perform well despite a Red Bull defense that will be covering him tightly. On New York’s side of the equation, Kaku will be instrumental in enabling the Red Bulls to shift to the higher gear that saw them win a resounding victory against Real Salt Lake last weekend. While the two players may not be directly dueling, they are both being asked to animate their teams to victory, and whoever does it better may very well decide the match.

Player to watch: Kacper Przybylko

All eyes should be on Kacper Przybylko who grabbed a goal in each of his first three starts for the Philadelphia Union. He has played every minute since, and been an essential replacement for Corey Burke in the latter’s absence. However, Przybylko has struggled as of late, producing just one goal in the last five matches. As the Union’s point person and hold-up striker, the pressure will be on to get the goal to put the Union ahead.

Prediction: Philadelphia Union 2 – 1 New York Red Bulls

The fans will be clamoring for a home victory after seeing their Philadelphia side win just one point from their last three matches at Talen Energy Stadium. However, a gripping win last weekend and the Union’s form this season both testify that this is a team strong enough to compete with the best. Expect a fast-paced and end-to-end match that could go either way at any moment. It will all fall on which team is able to make the most of their opportunities. With that said, the MLS home team advantage is a behemoth in itself, and the Union should be expected to win an important result at home.


  1. Andy Muenz says:

    Are players such as Blake and Creavalle missing due to international duty? Also, isn’t Fabian out since he was declared ineligible for Mexico due to injury?

    • Blake could be available because Jamaica does not have another pre-Gold Cup friendly and they were just close by in DC. Curtin and Blake both mentioned it in interviews.
      Fabian was ruled out of Mexico’s final Gold Cup roster by “injury” but played 27mins this past weekend against MinnU and is not listed in the MLS injury report. So it could very well mean that they called him “injured” because he is still recovering from injury and not fit enough to bring him.
      McKenzie and Real are still with U20s. Creavalle is with Guyana.

      • Buccistick says:

        The latest evidence that PSP is the best.
        Thank you, CPfeif. Thank you, Andy. And thank you, Shayan.

  2. Vince Devine says:

    I know they’re changing some rules in soccer, but isn’t the box still 18 yards?

  3. Gerry Cowan says:

    •18 yard box

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