New York Red Bullsvs
The New York Red Bulls will take on the Philadelphia Union in a battle between the two best teams in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference.
The Union’s still being listed as the favorite despite their recent lull in form and New York’s contrasting, high-flying performances.
New York can be expected to take the game directly at Philadelphia, which up to this point, has been ready for almost every challenge. One of the Union’s recent ties came against Los Angeles FC, a team that’s scored the most goals and taken the most points in the MLS up to this point— essentially, it showed that Phili can stand up to anyone, even if the stat sheet might not represent that.
With all of that being said, the Red Bulls are in exceptional form and have lofty aspirations, so there’s no better way for them to show their intent than with a win against their rival at the top of the table. Take New York to go on the road and leave Pennsylvania with three points.
The New York Red Bulls have started the season well, taking 18 points from their first 10 games with a 5-3-2 record. They’re also unbeaten in their last four league matches and six matches across all competitions, managing four wins during this stretch. Their most recent win, a 3-0 result over DC United, came after they were blanked in the opening 45 minutes and showed how prolific their attack can be when they’re locked in.
Lewis Morgan leads the team with four goals in 10 matches, while Patryk Klimala’s next with the three. New York’s tied for the third-most team goals in the conference, though that doesn’t mean they’ve separated from the rest of the pack. What they do have going for them, however, is their goal difference, which is second-best in the East at +8 thanks to their defensive record.
New York has rolled out different formations this season but mostly prefers a 3-4-2-1, which they use to create a ton of attacking opportunities. They’re fairly poor at ball retention, even against teams that’re clearly inferior to them, but when they’ve got possession, they send players bombarding up the pitch and tend to come away with attempts, some on goal. The Red Bulls are in their best form of the campaign and seem ready to mount a title challenge.
The Union lead the East with 19 points via a 5-4-1 record despite having failed to secure a win in their last five matches, two of which were losses to lesser opponents. This is a worrying sign for a team that started the team in exceptional form and managed to finish in second place last season but is now struggling for results.
Daniel Gazdag leads the Union with five goals, giving him a return of one goal every two matches, which is the standard for a decent attacker despite him being a midfielder. Julián Carranza’s next in line with four goals, and together, the two men have produced nine of the team’s 15 total goals. They’ve also conceded just eight times, tying with the Red Bulls for the lowest amount in the conference.
Phili likes to structure itself in a 4-3-1-2 that supports the defense but can also centralize the attack. Their stat sheet almost never impresses and looks more akin to a team at the bottom of the league as they rarely create chances and frequently lose the possession battle, but they’re well organized on the backline and convert their chances with extreme efficiency in the attacking third. They leave themselves a low margin of error, but up to this point, they’ve delivered.
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