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NYCFC vs Philadelphia Union – Preview & 4 Questions

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May 17, 2023; Orlando, Florida, USA; New York City FC goalkeeper Luis Barraza (1) and New York City FC forward Gabriel Segal (19) celebrate after a draw against Orlando City SC at Exploria Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The New York City Football Club come out of the small break rested, relaxed and fired up after pulling out a MUCH needed 1-1 draw on the road against Orlando City after a late goal at 89 by then birthday boy Gabe Segal. The team needed that point more than any point so far this season, as the 4 game losing streak the club had been on had clearly & understandably gotten into their heads by that point. Now they take on a red hot Philadelphia Union squad and their 10 points in their last 4 MLS matches (and only 1 goal allowed in that stretch). This match is huge for NYCFC as they currently sit in 10th place in the East so 3 points would go a long way to getting the team back into a playoff spot. As always, I have questions and stats to go along with it. Let’s Go!


1) How Much Will Being At Citi Field Help The Team? Despite their road troubles, the Gents in Blue do hold the 4th best record in the East and remain one of only 6 teams left in the league that haven’t had a loss at home. This is definitely encouraging to the team that hasn’t won in 5 straight, as is the fact that NYCFC is 4-0-2 at Citi. Combine that with the fact that they’re facing a Philly team that’s never been there this is a match that anything less than 3 points would feel like a loss.

May 17, 2023; Orlando, Florida, USA; New York City FC meet at mid field after a draw against Orlando City SC at Exploria Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

2) Can The Club Take The Lead Early? I’ve mentioned this before but this bares repeating with a little added extra: When NYCFC takes a lead going into halftime, they are 4-0-1 this season, and 0-5-3 when they’re tied or trailing after 45. Head Coach Nick Cushing chalked this up as it being a young squad and an early lead helps settle them down, which makes sense, but for now, is concerning. Philly is tied for 6th in the league in goals with 20 so expect pressure to come from the likes of Daniel Gazdag, Julian Carranza and Mikael Uhre, who are combined for 16 of those goals this season at 6, 5 & 5 respectively. Shutting them down and doing so early will be key.

3) Can Santiago Rodridguez Continue His Own Home Success?
Rodriguez is the team’s only 4 goal scorer this season, with 3 of those goals coming at home. Coincidentally or not, the matches he scored at home were also the only matches the team scored 3 goals this season so his presence is going to be key, working either in a false 9 alongside Gabe Segal or as the 1 up front, either way with Talles Magno on the wing.

4) How Many Substitutions Can We Expect? They’re in a good position to be playing at home the next three matches, however they come in an 8 day stretch, playing 1st place Cincinnati on Wednesday and 3rd place New England Saturday (both at Yankee Stadium). With that tight a schedule one could expect Cushing to be liberal with the substitutions to keep his squad as rested as possible. On the plus side, the Union are playing 3 in 8 days as well (as are Cincy and the Revs BTW) which will level the playing field but Nick would love an early large lead to rest some of his players to help conserve energy for Wednesday.

About the author – Scott Churchson has been an actor in every way for the past 13 years, from BG to stand in to stunts and principal, a sports writer for the past 4 and is one of the people that created Stream Punk Entertainment. He’s married to a veterinarian, has a cat with three working legs, a mother-in-law who just moved in and is just a simple man trying to make his way in the universe.

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