MLS Preview and Prediction: Philadelphia Union vs New York Red Bulls

Competition: Major League Soccer – Philadelphia Union vs. New York Red Bulls

Venue: Talen Energy Stadium – Sunday, October 23 – 16:00 ET (21:00 BST) 

Match Odds: Philadelphia 6/4 – Draw 9/4 – Red Bulls 17/10

Match Preview

Philadelphia Union welcome New York Red Bulls to Talen Energy Stadium, with the away side on the verge of being named Eastern Conference winners.

The Union haven’t had a lot to shout about in recent weeks. They haven’t won in six but the good news is that they should squeak into the playoffs.

Philadelphia are sitting 6th in the East and it would require a 13 goal swing for 7th placed New England to take that place, which on the face of it, sounds impossible.

Jim Curtin will be gunning for his side to put an end to their winless run, finish the season on a high and go into the playoffs with optimism.

Picture courtesy of philadelphiaunion.com

Picture courtesy of philadelphiaunion.com

New York Red Bulls task is simple, avoid a 13 goal swing and they will be named winners of the conference. The squad will be focused on winning the game and finishing the regular season unbeaten in 16.

Bradley Wright-Phillips will be hoping his teammates provide him with the service to fend off David Villa in the race for the Golden Boot.

Red Bulls come into this one having won 3-2 against Crew, they had been three goals to the good, so Jesse Marsch will want a tighter defensive display this weekend.

RBNY’s unbeaten run has been extremely impressive, they will be going into the playoffs full of confidence and ready to take on anyone.

MLS: New York Red Bulls vs. Columbus Crew - Red Bulls Celebrate

Team News

Philadelphia have just the two injury concerns as there are questions about the fitness of both Josh Yaro and Warren Creavalle.

New York Red Bulls are expecting to be without four as Gideon Baah, Connor Lade, Justin Bilyeu and Daniel Royer are all expected to be out.

Key Points

Philadelphia Union’s last five: D/L/D/L/L

Red Bulls’ last five: D/D/W/W/W

Key Stat: Unbeaten run – New York Red Bulls are unbeaten in their last 15 regular season outings.

Key Player: Bradley Wright-Phillips – BWP is leading the way to win the MLS Golden Boot by one goal. His rival forward Villa has been challenging him all season. All BWP needs to do is play his usual game and the goals will come, he will not put himself before the team for the sake of the record. It is going to be a huge theme of decision day.

MLS: New York Red Bulls vs. Columbus Crew - Bradley Wright-Phillips and Dax McCarty

Score Prediction

Philadelphia Union 1-2 New York Red Bulls – Philadelphia Union’s winless run to extend to seven. They face a Red Bulls side who just don’t look like losing at the moment. Both of these sides will already have an eye on the playoffs. A Union win and results in their favour could see them move up to 5th, but a close loss seems a likely result.  

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MLS Preview and Prediction: New York City FC vs Columbus Crew

Competition: Major League Soccer – New York City FC vs. Columbus Crew

Venue: Yankee Stadium – Sunday, October 23 – 16:00 ET (21:00 BST) 

Match Odds: NYCFC 8/5 – Draw 3/1 – Columbus 9/2

Match Preview

New York City FC welcome Columbus Crew to Yankee Stadium on Decision Day in a game that can have an impact on more than just the final standings.

Patrick Vieira’s side will want to win to ensure their regular season efforts get the rewards they deserve, three points will confirm their hold on second place in the East and a bye in the playoffs.

Barring a 13-goal swing NYCFC cannot finish top of the East. They will just be looking to finish the regular season on a high.

New York City come into this one having practically blown their chances of finishing top with a 3-1 defeat away to DC.

David Villa, MLS: NYCFC vs. LA Galaxy

Columbus Crew have nothing to really play for in this tie. The highest they can finish in the Eastern Conference is 7th providing results go their way, so the pressure is off.

Crew will be hoping to finish the season on a high and spoil the NYCFC party. They will have the backing of both Toronto and RBNY, who will be hoping for Crew to win for their benefit.

Gregg Berhalter’s side come into this one having lost 3-2 to RBNY. It was a disappointing result but they showed great effort to make a game of it, as they had been 3-0 down.

Photo: @ColumbusCrewSC

Photo: @ColumbusCrewSC

Team News

NYCFC could be without four for this tie as Connor Brandt, Shannon Gomez and Frank Lampard are all set to miss out, while Ronald Matarrita is doubtful.

Columbus Crew’s injury woes continue, as Matt Pacifici, Ben Swanson, Tyson Wahl, Waylon Francis are expected to be out, while Federico Higuain, Cedrick Mabwati, Gaston Sauro and Ola Kamara are all questionable.

Key Points

NYCFC’s last five: L/D/W/W/L

Columbus Crew last five: W/L/W/D/L

Key Stat: New York City have won six of their last seven home games and scored at least two in eight of their last nine at Yankee Stadium.

Key Player: David Villa – The NYCFC goal machine has netted an impressive 22 in the regular season, he will be itching to beat BWP to the golden boot on the final day. He trials his rival forward by one heading into the game.

David Villa, MLS: NYCFC vs. LA Galaxy

Score Prediction

New York City FC 3-1 Columbus Crew – NYCFC to bounce back from their defeat, secure second place and finish the regular season on a high. Columbus Crew will make a good game of it, but with little to play for they will struggle to deal with the intensity Vieira’s side will come at them with.

Sebastian Giovinco sets MLS record as he scoops double award

Sebastian Giovinco has won the 2015 MLS Golden Boot as well as leading the league in assists to cap off what has been a sensational debut season in Major League Soccer for the Toronto star.

The Italian forward joined Toronto from Juventus during the offseason in one of the most exciting deals in MLS history and he didn’t disappoint.

He has scooped the Golden Boot award with 22 regular season goals and has also taken the assist title with 16. Kei Kamara also netted 22 times but Giovinco’s superior assist tally acts as the tiebreaker.

WATCH – A recap of Sebastian Giovinco’s incredible debut season in MLS (Video via MLS on YouTube):

The ‘Atomic Ant’ becomes the first MLS player to ever lead the league in both goals and assists at the end of the regular season and he has also become the first ever Toronto player to lead MLS in assists.

His 22 goals in one campaign also eclipsing Toronto’s previous record set by Dwayne De Rosario (15) in 2010.

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Toronto FC will now enter their first ever MLS Cup Playoff run with an away game to Montreal Impact on Thursday night. They lost 2-1 to the Impact on Sunday and will need to improve if they are to make it past the knockout round.

With Giovinco in their side they can never be ruled out and the tricky attacker will now look to fire the Reds to MLS Cup success at the first attempt.

Is Sebastian Giovinco Major League Soccer’s most dangerous player ever?