Time: 7:00pm EST, 6:00pm CST, 3:00pm PST, 12:00am UTC
Venue: Talen Energy Stadium (Chester, Pa.)
Television: ESPN and ESPN Deportes
Streaming: WatchESPN and MLS Live (Subscription Only and only available in Canada)
Referees: REF: JUAN CARLOS RIVERO, AR1 Peter Manikowski, AR2 Kevin Klinger, 4th Allen Chapman
All-time Record: 2-2-1 1 GD
What New York City FC will look like:
As New York City visit Chester, Pennsylvania for the first time in 2017 it will bring its pale blue team into the confines of Talen Energy Stadium. After losing last week while lining up in a 3-5-2, away from home, against D.C. United, NYC will be looking to rebound and return back to their early season unbeaten ways. The second New York MLS club fielded this tactical lineup for the first time in 2017 and it proved to be a work in progress. Manager Patrick Vieira may have a different look to the team he lines up come Friday night on national television.
A need to rebound couldn’t come against a more perfect opponent in Philadelphia. The leaky Union defense is reeling after getting three goals smashed past them by the Portland timbers, who are arguably the hottest team in MLS right now. The thought of David Villa against Oguchi Oneywu and Fabinho will probably bring smiles to the faces of NYC travelling supporters. New York brings not only a world class player to Chester, but also an outstanding shot stopper in Sean Johnson and a host of young attacking talent including the likes of Maximiliano Moralez, Jack Harrison, and Tommy McNamara.
I was at NYC’s first win against the Union in Chester two years ago, when McNamara launched a rocket for the game winner and was showered with many things from beer to a full Sprite bottle as I sat across from the travelling NYC faithful. The aftermath of that goal cements McNamara’s talent in my brain and is my player to look out for here.
What Philadelphia will look like:
Things are grim for the Union. With Manager Jim Curtin sticking to his team selection without seeing a need to change course, the Union will likely saunter out in the same 4-2-3-1 with players in the same position as the previous 5 games. There’s merit to be given to Curtin for sticking to his guns and almost defiantly trying to captain a sinking ship. Curtin, unfortunately, looks more like Edward John Smith than David Farragut.
The lone player benefiting from this faithfulness is CJ Sapong. Three goals in five games puts him on par with NYC’s world class striker, and Sapong has been far more aggressive this season with his chances. Absent have been about every other player on the Union side, save for Haris Medunjanin and Andre Blake who prove their worth week in and out.
What to expect:
New York City and Philadelphia are two teams, early in the season, that have found their roles. The good part about the early part of the season is it can be changed. If Philadelphia cannot muster points from a New York City team at home then pitchforks may begin being polished. It is not common for Philadelphia sports fans to be light on the trigger. New York City is a very talented side and plays a style of soccer that will frustrate the “bend, don’t break” defensively philosophy associated with the Union in the past year and a half. Philly has been more of a break team as of late and don’t need help as they often put themselves under pressure by being unable to control possession.
Unless the Union adjust something tactically, there shouldn’t be the expectation that this game goes any differently than the previous five.
Projected Lineup: GK Andre Blake; LB Fabinho, LCB Oguchi Oneywu, RCB Richie Marquez, RB Keegan Rosenberry; CDM Derrick Jones, CDM Haris Medunjanin; LM Chris Pontius, CAM Alejandro Bedoya, RM Fabian Herbers; ST CJ Sapong
Result: New York City 2-0 Philadelphia Union