Preview: New York City FC vs. Philadelphia Union

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by JACK HAZZARD

It has been over a month since New York City FC has won their last MLS match. In that time, the New York side has drawn two matches and lost three, including their recent U.S. Open Cup match loss against the New York Cosmos.

With the return of Major League Soccer this weekend, NYCFC will hope to end their winless streak against Eastern Conference leaders, the Philadelphia Union. New York’s last MLS match resulted in a 3-2 defeat against Western Conference side Real Salt Lake. The loss saw rookie Jack Harrison and captain David Villa score, but an own goal from French center back Frederic Brillant in the 74′ minute tilted the match in favor of RSL.

In the Eastern Conference table, NYCFC currently sits in fourth with 18 points, only one point behind second and third-place New York Red Bulls and Montreal Impact. With a win this weekend, NYCFC could see themselves propelled to second in the East, resulting in the New York side being only one point away from first place.

The Philadelphia Union will prove to be difficult opposition for the out-of-form New York City side. The Union has yet to lose a match since April 16, where they lost 2-1 to Western Conference club Seattle Sounders. Philadelphia is coming off of an exciting 3-2 U.S. Open Cup victory against the Harrisburg City Islanders, where midfielder Roland Alberg scored a game winner in the 93′ minute, advancing the Union further into the Cup.

The last time NYCFC and the Philadelphia Union met was on April 23rd at the Talen Energy Stadium, where the Eastern Conference leaders came out on top, 2-0, with goals coming from Chris Pontius and C.J. Sapong. Although the match saw NYCFC claim 65% possession, the Union were able to make their shots count. NYCFC didn’t. New York had registered 14 total shots, but only one on goal. On the other hand, Philadelphia tallied 11 shots, putting five on target.

New York will be missing Federico Bravo due to a calf strain, but will be welcoming back Ronald Matarrita, who has returned to New York following his time with Costa Rica in the Copa America.

The Philadelphia Union will be missing captain Maurice Edu due to a left tibia stress fracture. In addition, starting forward CJ Sapong (ankle) and Josh Yaro (right shoulder) are listed as questionable due to minor injuries, suggesting they could still miss the match. Goalkeeper Andre Blake could make an appearance after returning home following his time with Jamaica in the Copa America.

The match between the two sides will take place on Saturday at Yankee Stadium with a kickoff time of 1:00 PM EST.