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Match preview: New York City FC vs. Philadelphia Union

The Union return from hiatus looking to extend their good run of form while simultaneously piling on the misery for New York.

Tranquillo Barnetta celebrates CJ Sapong’s goal as the Philadelphia Union defeated New York City FC 2-0.
Tranquillo Barnetta celebrates CJ Sapong’s goal as the Philadelphia Union defeated New York City FC 2-0.
Trey Madara / Brotherly Game

Game: New York City FC vs. Philadelphia Union

Date: Saturday, June 18th

Time: 1:00 PM

Venue: Yankee Stadium (Bronx, New York)

Referees: REF: SILVIU PETRESCU, AR1: Gianni Facchini, AR2: Andrew Bigelow, 4TH: Jose Carlos Rivero

Television: The Comcast Network, DirecTV 471, MLS Direct Kick

Streaming: FOX Sports Go, MLS Direct Kick, MLS Live

All time record: In their four meetings, the Union are 2-1-1 against NYCFC. In their only meeting at Yankee Stadium last year, the Union and NYCFC drew 1-1. This year, the Union won 2-0 at Talen Energy Stadium.

What the Union will look like: It’ll be a new look for the Union for sure. While CJ Sapong and Joshua Yaro are listed as questionable with an ankle injury and shoulder injury respectively, they will need to find a replacement for Vincent Nogueira. Nogueira and the club mutually terminated his contract on Thusday, citing an unspecified "personal health matter." If Sapong can’t go, look for rookie Fabian Herbers to get the nod up top for the Union. Herbers scored his first pro goal in the Union’s last MLS match against Columbus Crew SC. Behind Herbers or Sapong, look for the familiar midfield setup of Chris Pontius on the left, Tranquillo Barnetta in the center, and Sebastien Le Toux on the right. Deeper in the midfield, I expect it’ll be Brian Carroll and Warren Creavalle. Their ability to stay in New York’s passing lanes will be crucial in the quasi-legal confines of Yankee Stadium. In the back, look for the back five we are all used to: Fabio Alves on the left, Richie Marquez and Ken Tribbett in the center, and Keegan Rosenberry on the right in front of Andre Blake.

What New York will look like: New York will have Josh Saunders in goal behind a defense that has allowed a league-worst 29 goals so far this season. Ronald Matarrita is back with the club from his stint with Costa Rica in the Copa America, and will most likely be on the back line with Frederic Brillant, Jason Hernandez, and RJ Allen. The midfield is full of familiar names, however they haven’t always clicked. Look for Andrea Pirlo, Andoni Iraola, and Mix Diskerud to sit behind David Villa, Jack Harrison, and Steven Mendoza.

What to expect: Yankee Stadium is tiny, and play is often at a blistering pace. Teams that aren’t used to the dimensions often have a hard time getting things going offensively. If the Union can adjust quickly, they should be able to use their defensive strength and counterattacking prowess to frustrate NYCFC and return home with three points.