NYCFC vs Philadelphia Union preview: Home Sweet Home

Richard Ledezma of NYCFC
Richard Ledezma of NYCFC / Jeff Dean/GettyImages

On Saturday, New York City FC finally returns home after five away games in a row.  The trip was a difficult one, and one the team would like to put behind them.  Of course, they managed to grab a point in their last match against Orlando City SC.  Consequently, there is some positivity entering the match against the Philadelphia Union.

At this time, Philadelphia sits in fifth place, and is 6-4-3.  On the other hand, NYCFC now sits in tenth place, and has a record of 4-5-4.  Yet, the Pigeons are now at home, and thus far, they have only dropped two points in all home fixtures.  The players tend to play better in New York, and they also score too. 

However, the Union got the better of NYCFC in 2022, and beat them in both regular season games and then the MLS Cup Playoffs.  Hence, the Queens team will want to stop that winning streak, and turns things around for 2023.  Although, the away team is 3-0-1 in their last four Major League Soccer fixtures, and have been finding success after a somewhat slow start.

But again, NYCFC is at home.  Therefore, let’s take a look at this weekend’s preview.  

When is the match between New York City FC and the Philadelphia Union?

The match will take place on Saturday, May 27, at 7:30 PM.

Where is the NYCFC game?

The game will take place in Queens, NY at Citi Field.

Where can fans watch the NYCFC game?

Fans can catch NYCFC on Apple TV via the MLS Season Pass. 

What can New York City FC expect from the Philadelphia Union?

New York City FC can expect a Philadelphia Union that is on the rise.  When the team was competing in the Champions League, they struggled a little in MLS play.  After starting the season 3-4-2, the players managed to go 3-0-1 in the last four matches. 

Meanwhile, there are many familiar faces amongst the Philadelphia squad, including the goalkeeping powerhouse of Andre Blake.  It has been a few years since Blake has been the superstar keeper that took the league by storm, but his ability between the sticks is still problematic.  He might be in second to last place in the number of saves, but he and his defense allow fewer goals per 90 minutes compared to NYCFC.  It is a small difference, but Philadelphia’s rate is 1.08, and the Pigeons is 1.23.

Then, there is the incredible Kai Wagner, who has been a top left-back in the league for the last few years.  In 2022, the German had 15 assists in MLS, which illuminates how he is a providing threat.  This season, he does not have any assists thus far, but again, the Union is on the rise.  Furthermore, he has three goals in all competitions, so he can score too.  Supporters cannot forget his defensive abilities as well; he will likely be a menace for any Pigeon. 

The biggest threat though to NYCFC is Dániel Gazdag.  The attacking midfielder had 22 goals last season, and already has six this year.  Unfortunately, the Pigeons cannot focus on him entirely, for the forwards, Mikael Uhre and Julián Carranza both have five goals each.  For this reason, the home team will have a lot of defensive work to do on Saturday. 

Which NYCFC player should supporters watch?

NYCFC supporters should watch Richard Ledezma.  The midfielder is continuing to grow into the game with the Pigeons, and it is only a matter of time before he blossoms in MLS.  Plus, he has been getting opportunities to play as a false nine at times, switching off with Santiago Rodríguez.  His ability to maneuver in the attack, and then his high passing percentage accuracy, was exactly what Nick Cushing needed for his attacking half of the pitch.   

Also, Ledezma has two assists, and is due to score his first goal with the club any day now.  His attacking abilities have aided the final third, but as everyone knows, the capitalizing on attacking opportunities has been somewhat lackluster, especially on the road.  Still, the time at home always sees more goals, so perhaps the American will end up scoring his first this weekend. 

What is the prediction for New York City FC?

New York City FC needs to win at home, for not only do they need to turn the season around, but also the stop the latest winning streak Philadelphia has against them.  The home record has been great, but can the Pigeons finally get back in the groove to grab all three points? 

Between the recent break, and the boost of confidence by grabbing at least a point in the final fixture of the road trip, it is possible to believe good times are on the horizon.  That is why this week’s prediction is a 3-1 win.

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It will take a lot though to beat the soaring Union.  Every aspect of the game must be near or absolutely perfect for New York City FC.  There is no room for mistakes, and goals are a must. Alas, there is nothing better than being home sweet home.