Date: Sunday, September 17th
Time: 1:00 p.m. Eastern, 12:00 p.m. Central, 10:00 a.m. Pacific, 5:00 p.m. UTC
Venue: Red Bull Arena (Harrison, N.J.)
Referees: REF: JOSE CARLOS RIVERO, AR1: Logan Brown, AR2: Peter Manikowski, 4TH: Marcos DeOliveira, VAR: Mark Geiger
Television: ESPN, ESPN Deportes
Streaming: WatchESPN, ESPN Deportes+
All-time record: In MLS Play, the Philadelphia Union have won 6, lost 12, and drawn three against the New York Red Bulls. If you include the U.S. Open Cup, the Union’s record is 7W 13L 5D. The last meeting was in the U.S. Open Cup, when the Red Bulls eliminated the Union in penalties. The Red Bulls also won the last MLS meeting 2-0 back in June.
What the Red Bulls will look like
The Red Bulls are just above the red line for the MLS Playoffs, and a win against the Philadelphia Union will allow them to help stave off a late-season run by the Montreal Impact. RBNY is five points up on Montreal with both teams having seven games remaining. Not an insurmountable lead by any stretch of the imagination, so they know that every point matters - especially against a team like the Union that have struggled.
Sacha Kljestan is having a fantastic season, tallying 14 assists and 2 goals so far, while Bradley Wright-Phillips is quietly having another stellar season with 15 goals.
What Philadelphia will look like
Oguchi Onyewu will miss the game due to a yellow card suspension. Other than that, everyone should be healthy and ready to go. The roulette wheel at the 10 position will probably see Roland Alberg’s name called, since Ilsinho didn’t have the best outing last time against Minnesota United and the Union have been switching the two men at the position pretty regularly. As always, the Union will live and die by the performance put in by whomever plays the position. A great game will likely see the Union take points home. An average game or worse will see the Union’s record against one of their most hated rivals drop even farther.
What to expect
I would love nothing more than to be wrong about this, but I don’t see the Union winning this one. They haven’t been very good lately and while the Red Bulls haven’t won in their last four they also need this game more than the Union do. The Union’s only road win came against D.C. United back on May 13th, so the prospects of them going to North Jersey and coming back with all three points are slim to none. But who knows. Maybe because we’ve written them off, this will be the one the Union dominate and win.