Philadelphia Union vs. New York City FC | 2017 MLS Match Preview
Philadelphia Union vs. New York City FC
2017 MLS Regular Season
Talen Energy Stadium – Chester, Pa.
Friday, April 14 – 7 pm ET
WATCH: ESPN, ESPN Deportes in the US | MLS LIVE in Canada
We’re barely a month into the 2017 season, but the Philadelphia Union are already feeling a bit of heat.
Winless in their first five and losers of their last three, the 0-3-2 Union are in dead-last in the league, with the frustration mounting following last Saturday’s 3-1 home loss to the Portland Timbers.
“It’s very tough,” goalkeeper Andre Blake said after Saturday’s defeat. “It’s frustrating. I believe there is still some good that can come from this. If all the guys believe the way I do, we will be fine. I think last year at this time we were probably first or second place. I believe we can turn this thing around.”
They’ll have their next chance on Friday when New York City FC comes to town. One of the most talented teams in the East, NYCFC have been playing solid soccer this season – it just hasn’t always led to results. Like the Union, New York lost their last time out, giving up a cheap opening goal in their 2-1 loss at D.C. United over the weekend.
For about 30 minutes on Saturday, it looked like the Union were ready to make their first-month struggles a thing of the past. Philly controlled the early portion of Saturday’s match against Portland, eventually taking a 1-0 lead when Richie Marquez found the back of the net in the 26th minute.
Then things hit the fan.
Darlington Nagbe equalized for the Timbers six minutes after Marquez’s opener, then the Union made a couple of big mistakes to – as defender Oguchi Onyewu put it – “gift” a couple of goals in the second half to fall 3-1.
The loss led to a good deal of consternation in the Philly fan base, with head coach Jim Curtin talking after the match about the pressure he’s facing to turn things around.
“You can put it on me, that’s fine. I take the blame,” he said. “People are going to have their opinions and they’re entitled to them. It’s our job to stick together as a team, continue to work hard and bounce back from this. And the only way you get out of it is to win a game.”
If they want to get all three points on Friday, they’ll have to clean things up on both ends of the field. The Union have only scored five times this year, while allowing nine goals – tied for the most in the East. That could be a problem against NYCFC, who can be very potent in the attack.
- Suspended: None
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT: Joshua Yaro (shoulder surgery), Maurice Edu (left ankle/left tibia surgery), QUESTIONABLE: John McCarthy (concussion)
Projected starting XI (4-2-3-1, right to left): Andre Blake – Keegan Rosenberry, Oguchi Onyewu, Richie Marquez, Fabinho – Haris Medunjanin, Derrick Jones – Ilsinho, Alejandro Bedoya, Chris Pontius – C.J. Sapong
Notes: Philadelphia have won just one of their last nine home games (1-5-3), allowing multiple goals in seven of those nine contests … The Union’s C.J. Sapong is one of four players this season with 3+ goals and at least 75 percent shooting accuracy this year.
New York City FC
After reeling off a three-game unbeaten run that featured a pair of wins at Yankee Stadium, NYCFC came back down to earth a bit last week, falling 2-1 at D.C. United on Saturday to drop to 2-2-1 on the year. Their defense, lined up in a 3-5-2 for the first time this season, made a huge mistake at RFK, gifting D.C. their first goal to dig a hole that NYCFC’s attack couldn’t quite overcome. We’ll see if head coach Patrick Vieira sticks with that formation or reverts back to the four-man backline he used in NYCFC’s first four matches of the year on Friday.
- Suspended: None
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injury Report: QUESTIONABLE: Mikey Lopez (ankle surgery)
Projected starting XI (4-2-3-1, right to left): Sean Johnson – Ethan White, Maxime Chanot, Alexander Callens, Ronald Matarrita – Alexander Ring, Andrea Pirlo – Jack Harrison, Maxi Moralez, Rodney Wallace – David Villa
Notes: NYCFC have lost six of their last nine regular season away matches, including three in a row after last weekend’s lost at D.C. They’ve allowed an average of 2.0 goals per game in those matches … David Villa has created eight chances in NYCFC’s two away games this year, while the rest of the team has combined to create 12.
The series between NYCFC and Philly is all even, with both teams winning twice and drawing once in their five regular season meetings.
- Overall: Philadelphia 2 wins (8 goals) … New York City FC 2 wins (7 goals) … Ties 1
- At Philadelphia: Philadelphia 2 wins (5 goals) … New York City FC 1 win (3 goals)
Referee: Jose Carlos Rivero
Assistant Referees: Peter Manikowski, Kevin Klinger
Fourth Official: Allen Chapman