Philadelphia Union vs New York Red Bulls Match Preview

Oct 1, 2016; Harrison, NJ, USA; New York Red Bulls forward Bradley Wright-Phillips (99) defends against Philadelphia Union defender Joshua Yaro (15) during first half at Red Bull Arena. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2016; Harrison, NJ, USA; New York Red Bulls forward Bradley Wright-Phillips (99) defends against Philadelphia Union defender Joshua Yaro (15) during first half at Red Bull Arena. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports /

The Philadelphia Union will likely clinch a playoff berth on the last day of the season, come Sunday. Playoff bound for the first time since 2011, second time in franchise history.

The Ins and Outs

Pro Assigned Referees: REF: Kevin Stott, AR1: Kermit Quisenberry, AR2: Craig Lowry, 4TH: Sorin Stoica.

Coaches: Jim Curtin, Philadelphia Union; Jesse Marsch, New York Red Bulls.

Where to Watch: The Comcast Network, MSG+, MLS Live.

By The Goals: Philadelphia Union 52 goals for, 53 goals against; New York Red Bulls 59 goals for, 44 goals against.

Last Games: Philadelphia Union home vs Orlando City SC, 2-0 loss; New York Red Bulls home vs Columbus Crew, 3-2 win.

Playoff Bound?

The Philadelphia Union take on Eastern Conference Rival New York Red Bulls Sunday afternoon, for the third and final time this season. The season finale matchup brings two squads for opposite sides of the spectrum.

The Philadelphia Union have not won a game in almost two months. They won on August 27th, in a  2-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City. On the contrary, the New York Red Bulls have won their last 3 games and have been unbeaten in their last 16 games, their last defeat coming July 3rd.

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With both team’s likely making the playoffs the Union are the team with more to play for. Red Bulls have all but clinched the top seed (NYCFC would need to win by 13 goals and the Red Bulls would need to lose), while the Union with a win, a Montreal Impact loss, and a better Goal Differential would move them from the 6th seed to the 5th seed.

Even with a loss, the Philadelphia Union would make the playoffs as long as New England Revolution don’t make up a 12 goal difference. So we can pretty much pencil the Union into the playoffs as a six seed.

Possible on Field Scenario’s

Philadelphia Union
Oct 16, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin looks on during the second half against the Orlando City FC at Talen Energy Stadium. Orlando won 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /

The Philadelphia Union may or may not play their starters come Sunday. With almost a 99% chance the Philadelphia Union make the playoffs, Coach Jim Curtin could elect to give his starters a rest. Another scenario could be playing some normal starters and tinker with the lineups. The Philadelphia Union have almost nothing to lose and have been searching for a win, for almost 2 months.

However, Curtin has so far remained mute as to his plans and lineup. There were rumors that Maurice Edu would make his 2016 debut for the Union in the finale, but he went down in practice Saturday morning with an apparent leg injury.

With the rumors of him starting, it sounds like Curtin may be thinking of changing his lineup a bit, we will have to wait and see the Starting XI on Sunday.

New York Red Bulls on the other hand, in a way, almost have more to play for than the Union. The Supporters Shield standings decide who hosts the MLS Cup. Currently sitting 3rd in the Supporters Shield race, Red Bulls could possibly move into 2nd with a win. If they were to advance to the Final they would host, unless they face FC Dallas.

To go along with his team, New York Red Bulls Striker, Bradley Wright-Phillips is currently first in the Golden Boot Race. He will likely plead with his coach to play to win the title.

What to Expect

Sunday afternoon could be the final time the Philadelphia Union play at home in 2016. With that in mind, the Front Office, Coaching Staff and especially the players, understand what this team means to their Supporters.

The fans haven’t been able to root on the Union in the playoffs very much in the short existence of the club. A win would guarantee a spot in the playoffs, a second win would be needed to have a home playoff game (but that’s another story for a different day).

Happy endings usually only happen in fairy tales. This season started off in what looked like a fairy tale but recently has turned into a nightmare.

NEXT: Philadelphia Union Fans: Comfortable Agony

That’s why I’m predicting a 2-1 Union win. Goals coming from Ilsinho and Chris Pontius. The Philadelphia Union have a chance to right the ship and gain a little bit of momentum for a playoff run. A win on Sunday would show that maybe all is well in Philadelphia and the Boys in Blue can make a strong push in the playoffs.

Here’s to hoping a fairy tale like playoff run can spark.