NYCFC vs Philadelphia Union preview: Last game before the Leagues Cup

Keaton Parks of NYCFC
Keaton Parks of NYCFC / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

New York City FC supporters received some good news this week when the club announced the signing of Mounsef Bakrar.  The team finally has a striker, and this has been the most glaring issue all season long. 

However, the new player will not be available when the Pigeons take on the Philadelphia Union this weekend.  The two teams met earlier in the year, and the Pennsylvania side won by a 3-1 score line.  In some ways, this was the match that made fans realize that the issues were not just away from home, but really with the team overall.

Standings wise, the two could not be more different as well.  NYCFC currently sits in 13th place in the Eastern conference, while the Union sits in fourth place.  While they are only separated by 11 points, the Union is clearly having the better season this year, especially based on wins.  The home side has 11 total, while the Pigeons have managed just five.

So, can a miracle happen for the visitors?  Here is a look at the fixture between NYCFC and the Philadelphia Union.

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

The match will take place on Saturday, July 15, at 7:30 PM.

Where is the NYCFC game?

The game will take place in Chester, Pennsylvania at Subaru Park.

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 Philadelphia?

New York City FC can expect a Philadelphia side that has the momentum against them.  The Union has won the last four matches against the Queens team in all competitions, and this includes every fixture since the playoff win for the Pigeons in 2021.  Plus, they are solid at home, for they have lost just once in the last 19 home games, and won 16. 

Although, the Union will be without one of their top goal scorers, Julián Carranza.  The striker received a red card in his last match, and as a result, is suspended against NYCFC.  Moreover, it is questionable about whether Andre Blake will be back and ready to go from the Gold Cup, for Jamaica was knocked out by Mexico on Wednesday.  These missing players might make things a little more difficult for Philadelphia, but the goalkeeper is a possibility to play.

Still, with NYCFC’s 2023 season, likely it will not matter who is available.  Even if the team plays well, somehow they tend to throw games out the window.

Which NYCFC player should supporters watch?

New York City FC supporters should watch Justin Haak.  The Homegrown player scored his first goal for the club last weekend, and has been playing mostly well as a center-back.  Even when he is in the midfield though, the development is starting to show.  He is getting better and better, and that is good for depth purposes.

Surely his goal will add to his confidence too.  It would not be surprising to see the usual midfielder get more into the attack, regardless of where he starts.  Of course, Nick Cushing has to name him to the Starting XI, and that is never a guarantee.

What is the prediction for New York City FC?

This might be getting old, but the outlook for New York City FC is grim.  Yes, it was predicted they would lose last weekend, and the club ended with a draw.  Yet, the recent success of the Union over the Pigeons makes it easier to believe the match will end in a loss.

Hence, the prediction is that NYCFC will lose, 3-0.  This will be one of those fixtures the players struggle in, with a few bright lights mixed in, likely Gabriel Pereira and Haak. 

No matter the result, at least New York City FC can look forward to the pause in league play, and turn to the Leagues Cup.  Even if the Pigeons are knocked out early, then at least the players will have the time to make changes, welcome new additions, and get ready for the remainder of the 2023 season.  Maybe, just maybe, the playoffs will be a possibility.