3 things we learned during Wednesday’s important 2-1 win over Philadelphia

  • NYCFC won their second road game of the season
  • The Pigeons beat the Philadelphia Union 2-1
  • Here are three things we learned from the win
Hannes Wolf of NYCFC
Hannes Wolf of NYCFC / Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

New York City FC got their second road victory in a row for the first time in what seems like forever and are making their way back up the table. After a brutal match against Toronto FC that saw defender Strahinja Tanasijević suspended, the team was able to push that to the side and come out at full strength against the Philadelphia Union.  

This win was the first time NYCFC saw a victory against the Union since May of 2021 (not including the playoffs). Their loss was also the first time in history that the Union have lost four home matches in a row. Also, this leapfrogs the boys in blue to fifth place in the Eastern Conference. This is perfect fuel for the team as the Hudson River Derby is only two days away.  

With a ton of good to discuss, here are the three things we learned from the 2-1 win on Wednesday.

3 things we learned from Wednesday’s win versus the Union

1. A raccoon may be the lucky charm 

Just like the last match, NYCFC headed into Wednesday’s game as the underdogs after losing the last five regular season games to Philadelphia. They have also struggled to keep up with their form, especially since 2022. After Alonso Martínez scored an early goal after a beautiful play from Santiago Rodríguez, an unusual event happened.   

A raccoon was seen running on the pitch, which resulted in a minor delay until the grounds crew caught it. This humorous event turned into a rallying cry for the Boys in Blue, which right before halftime fans saw Hannes Wolf score what may be a candidate for goal of the season, a curling free kick to give them the 2-0 lead. Following the conclusion of the match, NYCFC’s admin took to X to honor the raccoon, which was appreciated by its fans.   

2. Matt Freese and Andrés Perea's return to Philadelphia 

Both Matt Freese and Andrés Perea made their respective returns to the Union after leaving the club to join the Pigeons. Freese did a phenomenal job with four huge saves against his former club. He faced off against Oliver Semmle, who is the second-string keeper. Perea also got a chance to start, who signed with NYCFC permanently following his loan last season.   

He also put up a good fight with three tackles won, three recoveries, and 12 duels won. For Freese, it was the first time he started against his old team on their home turf after rarely playing with Andre Blake as the first-choice goalkeeper. 

3. This win means there is a lot to play for on Saturday

With the New York Red Bulls taking the win over D.C. United, they continue to stay above NYCFC in the standings. However, if they beat the Bulls, they could enter the top four for the first time since 2022. Unlike NYCFC, the Red Bulls had started the season hot, despite their brutal 6-2 loss to Lionel Messi and Inter Miami CF a few weeks ago.   

This will also be the first Hudson River Derby played at Citi Field, with the Red Bulls taking the series in league play last year after a win and a draw. The good news is that NYCFC is in the best form of the season and will take on their rivals at full force, knowing there is a lot to play for despite it still being early in the season.