The New York Red Bulls (7-5-3) head South on I-95 for the first time this season where they’ll visit Talen Energy Stadium, home of the Eastern Conference leaders, Philadelphia Union.
The Union (8-4-4) have been one of the more surprising teams this season, climbing to the top of the east using a mix of youth and veteran players, giving Head Coach Jim Curtain a much more balanced team than years past.
With the help of Sporting Director Ernst Tanner – who has ties to Red Bull Global Soccer, finishing off the 2017 Austrian Football Bundesliga as Academy and Youth Football Head at Red Bull Salzburg – Philly has strengthened their squad and created depth.
The Red Bulls come into the match on great form, sporting a two-match win streak and a 6-1-1 record in their last eight matches. They’ve also won their last two road matches, scoring at least two goals.
Whether it’s the insertion of young, hungry NYRBII players or just the Red Bulls playing like the team that won the Supporters’ Shield in 2015 and 2018, they seem to have put those early season woes behind them.
RBNY’s offense is firing on all cylinders now with 16 different goal-scorers on the year. Their defense is also starting to look like the one that allowed a league-low 33 goals last season, posting three clean sheets in four matches.
The Red Bulls, however, lose some key players to the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup and their depth will once again be tested.
Players to Watch
With a goal and two assists in the last three games, Alejandro “Kaku” Romero Gamarra is looking to leave that rocky start of the year in the past.
Knowing he is one of the stars of the recent line-ups with Bradley Wright-Phillips, Aaron Long, and Daniel Royer not consistently starting, his play has influenced the team and more importantly, the score, as he looks to continue carrying this team of youngsters to victory.
Union Captain Alejandro Bedoya continues to be the heart and soul of his team, leaving it all on the field and making sure he leads by example. But the US International is also known for being open and honest with the media about his team’s performance and whenever he feels disappointed to not get a win.
Even though Philly is in a bit of a home slump – 0-1-2 in the last three games hosted – Bedoya will look to make sure they don’t drop any more points at home, especially on their ‘Rivalry Night’. He already has two goals and an assist in the year, with most of his heavy-lifting going unnoticed in the midfield.
Previous match-up in Chester
Can someone remind Kaku what happened the last time they played at Talen Energy Stadium?…
Photo by Bill Twomey Photography