Union playoff preview: Leg 1 vs the NY Red Bulls
The MLS Playoffs are back! The Philadelphia Union plays their first playoff game of the 2021 MLS Season as the rival New York Red Bulls come to town. Just two years ago, the Union had the impressive 3-1 comeback win in the playoffs against the Red Bulls right here in Chester. That night was the Union’s first-ever playoff win. Can they win their second Saturday night?
This is the first leg between the teams, with the first leg here in Chester, and the second one will take place at the Red Bulls. The scores from both legs will be added together to determine who advances.
New York Red Bulls Scouting Report:
The Red Bulls are coming into this year’s playoffs with a strong run, only losing one game in their last nine. In their previous ten games, they posted a record of 6-1-3, and one of those ties came against the Union in September. Along with this strong end to their regular season, they have gained much confidence as well. Red Bulls coach Gerhard Struber apparently already knows the outcome of Saturday’s game.
“We don’t drive to Philly just because ‘oh it’s nice to be in the playoffs.’ We come because we think we belong in the next round. All respect to Philly – but we win on Saturday.”
Bold words coming from Struber, but I can only appreciate the confidence. I just hope he knows what’s coming on social media if they lose (which they will).
The Red Bulls have an excellent defense with a bunch of versatile players. Leading the attack is Fabio Gomes Netto, who has scored seven times this season. Besides him, Cristian Casseres Jr and Patryk Klimala, have combined for 14 goals. In net for the Red Bulls is familiar face Carlos Miguel who was with the Union back in 2019.
Union Scouting Report:
Like the Red Bulls, the Union ended their regular season play strong, with a record of 5-1-4 in their last ten games. They are currently on a five-game win streak at Subaru Park. Nothing much has changed for the Union in terms of their starting lineup, expect the same as before. The Union is anchored by arguably the best center-back duo in Jack Elliott and Jacob Glesnes. Behind them is none other than Andre Blake, the best goalie in the MLS.
Prediction: 2-0 Union:
Everything favors the Union in this matchup. The game is at home, and the Union are easily the more experienced playoff team. For their recent playoff runs, the Union have a similar squad with few changes. Most of the players on the Red Bulls have never experienced an MLS playoff match. The Union are looking to bounce back from last year’s playoff performance. I expect Daniel Gazdag to score in this matchup.
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|New York Red Bulls||(+220)|
Anytime Goal Scorer: Daniel Gazdag (+275)
Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union