After a tumultuous regular season, RBNY are back in the postseason for the 12th consecutive time, while Philadelphia comfortably qualified to the playoffs after securing a second place finish during the regular season.
Here’s what you need to know about the opening round playoff fixture in the Eastern Conference…
When is kick off? Saturday, November 20th, 2:30 p.m. (ET)
Where is the match being played? Subaru Park, Chester, Pennsylvania
What TV channel is it on? Univision, TUDN, PHL17, MSG+
What streaming is it on? MLSsoccer.com & App
After a rough start to the season, it looked like New York’s long standing playoff streak was coming to an end in 2021. But, the Red Bulls fought back mid season to manage a season-saving 7-1-4 record.
Despite the backline injuries that impacted the squad, the Red Bulls are now confident they can secure a spot in the Conference semifinals.
“I think Philly’s one step further like us. They have a group with different age, they have a group that plays longer together,” head coach Gerhard Struber said. “But I think right now in our momentum, with all that we learn the last few months, we can beat Philly. This is the big goal on Saturday.”
After a strong regular season, the Union secured second place in the Eastern Conference.
Head coach Jim Curtin is expected to make Daniel Gazdag the star of the match on Saturday after being impressed with the Hungary international all season.
The team also reports no new injuries.
“Daniel has four goals and five assists this year and that’s only in 1300 minutes,” Curtin said. “If you quantify that over a season you’re looking at pretty close to double digit goals and double-digit assists, which isn’t easy to do in this league.”
New York: Coronel; Nealis, Reyes, Edwards, Gutman; Yearwood, Davis, Duncan; Fabio, Casseres, Klimala
Philadelphia: Blake; Wagner, Glesnes, Elliott, Mbaizo; Andres Martinez, Flach Bedoya; Monteiro, Gazdag, Przybylko
In the all-time history of this rivalry, the Red Bulls hold the advantage, with a 14-7-6 series lead. The teams tied 1-1 in both 2021 regular season meetings. New York and Philadelphia have only met once in the postseason, in the 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs, with Philadelphia winning 4-3 in a thriller.
The Union have been one of the most consistent teams in MLS this season. While impressive that the Red Bulls qualified after a rocky start, a road game against a rival in the postseason is no easy task, particularly when that rival has been one of the top teams in the league this season.
Prediction: New York Red Bulls 0-1 Philadelphia Union