Match previews

Match preview: Philadelphia Union vs New York Red Bulls

Photo:Paul Rudderow

Who: Philadelphia Union (1-2-2, 5 points, 10th place in the East) vs. New York Red Bulls (2-0-2, 6 points, 4th place in the East)

What: 2021 MLS Regular Season.  

Where: Subaru Park, Chester, PA

When: Saturday, May 15 at 7:30 p.m. (Eastern)

Watch: PHL17, ESPN+,

Whistle: Referee: Allan Chapman. Assistant Referees: Jeremy Kieso, Tiffini Turpin. 4th Official: Brandon Stevis. VAR: Matthew Nelson.

If it feels like you are watching a Union game every other day, you’re not too far off the mark.

The Union’s 7:30 game against the New York Red Bulls this evening is their ninth game in the past 32 days.  The legs looked a bit heavy at the end of Wednesday’s gritty match vs the New England Revolution that featured some late game heroics and imaginative refereeing.  The Red Bulls on the other hand come into Subaru Park on a full week of rest after they defeated Toronto 2-0 – their second straight win with that scoreline.

The Union have won these teams’ last three meetings, including the big 4-3 win in the 2019 playoffs.  The home turf advantage will be limited to the 5,000 fans cheering them on as they wind down their very busy stretch of games.

Scouting Report: Red Bulls

As with all Red Bull teams, the New York Red Bulls play within the tenets of EDS, Energy Drink Soccer.  Using a high line they try to trap with counter presses looking to make the opposition move backwards and towards the sidelines. Then, pounce on a misstep, gain possession and begin their counterattack while already in their opponents’ half of the field.  This strategy has been successful but relies on the coordination and fitness of the players.  Any mistake by them as they press high can leave their backline vulnerable to counter attacks.

Having a system is great but you still need players to make it work.  Last year’s team clearly needed some talent and along with new coach Gerhard Stuber have made 13 changes to their roster. The Red Bulls, in their marquee acquisition, brought in Fabio Roberto Gomes Netto aka Fabio, on loan from Oeste Club in Brazil.  Their new striker has yet to score a goal but leads the MLS in assists with four.  The Red Bulls also acquired Frankie Amaya from Cincinnati FC as their central midfielder, bringing ball handling chops to their central midfield. Scoring has come in large part from 17 year old phenom Caden Clark with three goals in their four games.  You might recognize goalkeeper Carlos Coronel from his brief stint with the Union in 2019.  Coronel leads the league with two clean sheets.

Injury report: Youba Diarra (M); Jason Pendant (D); Flovian Valot (M);  Tom Barlow (F)

Suspended:  None

Scouting report: Union

It would be quite a stretch to call the Union’s performance in their league games “beautiful,” but the good news is that they are only three points below the top of the table in the Eastern Conference in this young season.  A win would be big as they finish up this marathon of matches and can rest up as their next game is a full week away.

The Union will need to deal with New York’s intense press better than they did against New England – giving up on the build up and letting Blake boot it to midfield.  Any weak passes will be pounced on and quickly moved towards the goal.

Jose Martinez will miss his third and final game of his red card suspension, so the important No. 6 role will fall again to Leon Flach.  Flach has filled in admirably on the defensive end but lacks some of Martinez’s creativity in moving the ball forward.  Repositioning Jamiro Monteiro back to the No. 8 would help in breaking the press and assisting in the link-up play.  This move would also allow Anthony Fontana to play at the 10 and perhaps help with the team’s anemic scoring; and avoid putitng Jack McGlynn in a too precarious position. 

The Union will be tired so capitalizing on early chances will be paramount.

Injury Report:  OUT: Jack De Vries (F); Ilsinho (M); 

                                Questionable: Stuart Findlay (D); Kacper Przbylko (F)

Suspension Report:  Jose Martinez (M)

Key Matchup: Union Midfield vs Red Bulls Press

The Union midfield will need to be both fast and clinical with the ball and not allow the Red Bulls the opportunity to set up their press.

Player to Watch: Anthony Fontana

Fontana has not had too much opportunity to play but this game requires a big contribution from the midfield. The Union will need his fresh legs to carry them through.

Prediction:  Philadelphia 2-1 New York


Philadelphia Union:    +260

NY Red Bulls:                 -105

Draw:                             +250


  1. Andy Muenz says:

    What’s up with Kacper that he’s questionable?

  2. I just hope we win. we need to get those 3 points and get back on tracj.

  3. Alicat215 says:

    The U also play EDS footy………

  4. Edwin Rivera says:

    Will the schedule of upcoming games allow more rest and recovery?

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