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Match preview: New York Red Bulls vs Philadelphia Union

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

Who: New York Red Bulls (8-11-6, 30 pts, 11th in East) vs Philadelphia Union (10-7-8, 38 points – 4th in East)

What: MLS Regular Season

Where: Red Bull Arena, Harrison, N.J.

When: Wednesday, September 29, 7:30 pm EDT

Watch: PHL17, ESPN+

Whistle: Referee: Alex Chilowicz; AR: Charles Morgante, Brian Dunn; 4O: Guido Gonzales Jr.; VAR: Sorin Stoica; Ast. VAR: Thomas Supple

The Philadelphia Union look to build on their recent success as the team travels up I-95 to Harrison, N.J. to take on rivals New York Red Bulls.

Both teams enter this match on hot streaks.

After bowing out of the Concacaf Champions league two weeks ago, the Union have been in good form, winning consecutive matches 3-1 and 1-0 against Orlando City and Atlanta United, respectively, both of whom were above the playoff line at the time of each match.  The Union now sit fourth in the Eastern Conference with games in hand on the majority of teams for which they’re competing for a play-off spot with.

The Red Bulls have also found some decent form in the past week, having earned four points out of six in back to back matches against rivals NYCFC; the first of which being a dramatic 1-1 draw at home which saw Patryk Kimala score the equalizer via PK in stoppage time, and the latter a 1-0 away win by means of a first half goal by Bronx native Omir Gonzalez.  It’ll require sustained success and some serious help from other Eastern Conference contenders, but a playoff spot is still somewhat of a possibility for the Red Bulls.

Scouting Report: New York Red Bulls

Seven points in their last three matches has injected some belief in head coach Gerhard Struber’s side.  Those three matches saw the Red Bulls net six goals while conceding only once.

It’s not pretty passing nor possession that has earned the Red Bulls their recent results (they were out possessed 65% to 35% in their 1-0 win against NYCFC).  Rather, the Red Bulls play a more chaotic style of soccer, creating 50/50 chances in dangerous parts of the field and capitalizing on their opponents mistakes.

Forwards Fabio and the aforementioned Patryk Kimala have been providing much of the damage, having combined for 12 goals and 12 assists on the year.

Scouting Report: Philadelphia Union

With Ale Bedoya unavailable this past Sunday for the match against Atlanta, head coach Jim Curtin employed Daniel Gazdag at the No. 10, Leon Flach and Jamiro Monteiro at the 8s and Jose Martinez in his normal No. 6 position. As PSP’s Jeremy Lane wrote in his match analysis of the win over Atlanta United, this version of the midfield diamond provided some useful balance that may have been lacking thus far this season.  Bedoya should be available for selection against the Red Bulls, so we’ll see if Curtin inserts the captain back into the starting XI immediately or elects to stick with what worked on Sunday.

The Union’s back four looked particularly solid against Atlanta on Sunday (albeit a Josef Martinez-less Atlanta), with Atlanta ending the match with only .2 Xg.  Any changes would be surprising.

As for the attack, Kacper Przybylko has provided the hot foot recently, having scored the winner on Sunday by means of a lovely one-timer, and netting a brace in the previous match against Orlando.  An in-form Przybylko is precisely what the doctor ordered as the Union head into the final quarter of the season.

Injury Report: Ilsinho (Out), Burke (Out), Bedoya (Questionable)

Key Match-Up: Midfield

It’s always a bit of a frenzy in the midfield when these two sides meet.  Gerhard Struber deployed an attacking minded 3-4-3  in the Red Bulls 1-0 against NYCFC.  Needing results to stay alive, the Union can expect a high octane Red Bulls side come Wednesday.  Composure in the midfield and winning loose balls will be key.

Player to Watch: Daniel Gazdag

It hasn’t quite clicked yet but there has been improvement.  Mid-week against a club rival would be a great match for Gazdag to get on the score sheet.

Prediction: Philadelphia Union 2 – 0 New York Red Bulls


  1. I’m still a little wary about predicting a road win for a team that hasn’t won on the road since before Memorial Day. Maybe it was just the summer and they’ll start to win on the road now that it is autumn.

  2. oh- regular tv then is it? imagine that.

  3. Bedoya starting for Gazdag who is on the bench. Other than that same starting lineup as Saturday. Freese is the backup keeper returning to the scene of his biggest error.

  4. Heard them mention that Martinez is one yellow away from suspension. Might be better if he picks one up tonight and misses Sunday’s game than if he picks one up Sunday and misses the Cincinnati game where they’ll already be shorthanded.

    • Never mind. Forgot he was one of the reasons they’ll be shorthanded against Cincinnati. (Plus he got the yellow anyway.)

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