In Pictures: NYCFC stroll past Philadelphia Union in Eastern Conference Knockout Round

Maxi Moralez scored and picked up two assists as New York City FC strolled past Philadelphia Union 3-1 in Wednesday’s Eastern Conference Knockout Round. The result sees NYCFC through to the Conference Semifinals for the third-straight year. But it means Philadelphia are left searching for their first ever playoff win. A search they’ll have to wait another year to continue.

The game saw a repeat scoreline from Sunday’s Regular Season clash, which was also at Yankee Stadium. Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and David Villa added NYCFC’s other goals on the night. While Corey Burke scored a late goal for the Union, which was little more than a consolation after a tough night for the East’s sixth-seed.

NYCFC will now face Atlanta United over two legs in the Eastern Conference Semifinal, with the first leg on Sunday at Yankee Stadium.

Check out exclusive photos from Wednesday’s Playoff game, courtesy of MLSGB photographer Ashley Marshall.

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Union stun Sounders, ending win streak with late winner

What looked at first to be a prime opportunity for Seattle Sounders FC to get their 10th straight win against Philadelphia Union on their home turf turned into a shocking loss as a Stefan Frei mistake in the 93rd minute of the match lead to a winner for Fafa Picault and the Union.

Early in the match Sounders looked like they’d take an early lead, putting dangerous crosses through the Union box and creating a number of chances but couldn’t find the back of the net, hitting the woodwork twice and having other shots trickle just wide of the target.

The Union grew into the match after the first 30 minutes and played physical defense to slow down Seattle’s attack. The physical play took a toll on the Sounders as first Raul Ruidiaz came off with an ankle injury in the 29th minute before being replaced by Will Bruin in the 34th and Chad Marshall would come off at the half after suffering a head injury in the 24th minute.

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Seattle would get more chances in the second half, out shooting the Union 10 to 4, but couldn’t find a way past Union ‘keeper, Andre Blake, as several dangerous crosses through the box failed to result in a goal.

Philadelphia thought they had opened the scoring in the 65th minute as Cory Burke got in behind the Seattle defense and beat Frei near post but the goal was overturned after video review showed Burke to be offside, but the momentum had shifted in the Union’s favor.

It looked as though the Sounders had caught another break in the in the 89th minute when Jack Elliott received his second yellow card of the match meaning Seattle would have seven minutes with stoppage time to get a winner while a man up but instead it was the Union who would get the goal.

As Frei tried to play a back-pass short, he misjudged the pass and instead found Picault who went between Frei’s legs to give the Union a surprising lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.

While it would be easy to blame the Seattle goalkeeper for the loss, Frei was spectacular for the majority of the match including a point-blank save on Elliot in the 32nd minute.

With their winning streak ended at nine, Seattle will look to rebound as they head to Los Angeles to face the LA Galaxy on Sunday in what could be an important match for both club’s playoff aspirations.

In pictures: Timbers make it 15 unbeaten with 3-0 win over Union

The Portland Timbers tied a club record by stretching their unbeaten run to 15 on Saturday night. Portland scored two penalties on the way to a 3-0 win over the Philadelphia Union at Providence Park.

The teams went into half-time with the score locked at 0-0 but Portland head coach Giovanni Savarese told his players to go after the Union after the break. And they did.

Penalties scored by Diego Valeri and Dairon Asprilla put Portland 2-0 up before David Guzman headed in the final goal in the 87th minute. Asprilla and Guzman scored their first goals of the season on the night.

The result moved Portland up into second place in the Western Conference and stretched their home unbeaten run to 10. For Philadelphia, they sit seventh in the East, two point behind New England and Montreal, who currently occupy the final two playoff spots with 12 games to go.

Portland’s impressive run stretches all the way back to mid-April, when they beat Minnesota 3-2 in their 2018 home opener. The Timbers failed to win any of their five opening games to the season – all of which were played on the road – so the fact they’re now sitting second is remarkable.

Check out exclusive photos from Saturday’s game at Providence Park below, courtesy of MLSGB photographer, Denise McCooey:

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New York Red Bulls vs Philadelphia Union | 2018 MLS Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: New York Red Bulls vs Philadelphia Union

Red Bull Arena – Saturday, May 26th 2018 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)

UK TV Coverage – Live on Sky Sports Football

New York Red Bulls vs Philadelphia Union: Preview

Saturday evening sees New York Red Bulls welcome Philadelphia Union to Red Bull Arena. The Eastern Conference rivals are separated by seven points ahead of the tie.

It’s been a very good run of form for the home side. They have won four on the bounce, coming into the game off the back of their 3-1 away win against Atlanta.

That win last time out was made all the more impressive as Jesse Marsch’s side came back from 1-0 to take all three points back to New York. More of the same will be expected from the Red Bulls faithful here.

Philadelphia Union have bounced back. They have won their last two after losing two on the bounce and now is the time for them to find some consistency.

A 4-1 win last time out against RSL was exactly the kind of performance the Union needed to produce having previously won 2-0 against Montreal.

If history is anything to go by, Philadelphia fans can expect a difficult game with a slim chance of taking anything away with them – managing just one win in the all-time series on the road.

New York Red Bulls vs Philadelphia Union: Team News

New York Red Bulls

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: Marc Rzatkowski (calf injury), Kemar Lawrence (head injury) and Tyler Adams (knee).

🌏 International Duty: Fidel Escobar and Derrick Etienne Jr.

🚑 Out: Kyle Duncan (torn right ACL) and Luis Robles (knee injury).

Philadelphia

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: None.

🌏 International Duty: None.

🚑 Out: Richie Marquez (sports hernia surgery) and Joshua Yaro (concussion).

New York Red Bulls vs Philadelphia Union: Key Stats

New York Red Bulls’ MLS form: L/W/W/W/W

Philadelphia Union’s MLS form: W/L/L/W/W

Key stat: Philadelphia Union have won just once away at New York Red Bulls in the all-time series.

New York Red Bulls vs Philadelphia Union: Prediction

New York Red Bulls 2-1 Philadelphia Union: Despite winning three of their last five, Philadelphia Union have struggled to make much of an impact away against New York Red Bulls. Jesse Marsch will be expecting his side to continue their winning streak but will be more than aware of the threat the Union pose.

MLS debutants run riot on opening weekend

The opening weekend of MLS has set the tone for the rest of the season. There was plenty of drama with goals, video assistant referees, red cards and shock results. However, one astonishing stat that has come from week one was from MLS debutants.

A total of 26 goals were scored across the ten games with nine of those coming from debutants – which equates to 35% of the goals scored on opening weekend.

What makes it all the more impressive is that all nine goal scorers came from different clubs, adding to the excitement.

WATCH 📹 – Take a look at all nine debutant goals from week one

2018 Key Transfers: Philadelphia Union

With the 2018 MLS season drawing ever closer, we have been running through the standout transfers for all 23 teams over the course of the winter transfer window. There have been a number of key signings and significant trades which should ensure the new season is as exciting as ever before. Today we take a look at Philadelphia Union and their key signings ahead of the 2018 MLS season…

There wasn’t really a lot for Philadelphia Union fans to shout about during in the 2017 campaign – finishing 8th in the Eastern Conference, outside of the playoffs. With that in mind it would be fair to say they could do with revamping their squad in hope of reaching the post season. They’ve signed just five players so far, while some notable players have been moved on. It’s going to require a big effort for them to force their way into a playoff spot considering how competitive the Eastern Conference is, but the squad will be ready and raring to go come the start of the season.

Key Signings

David Accam: Easily the biggest signing for Philadelphia Union during the window. David Accam comes in as a designated player from Chicago. He has an impressive MLS record in his three seasons so far, scoring 33 in 78, with a further 15 assists. His goal contribution makes him an ideal forward to help Philadelphia push in the right direction. At 27 they have picked up a player nearing the peak of his powers and the Union faithful will be hoping he can produce on their opener to give everyone a lift and positive start to the 2018 season.

Cory Burke: Firepower is what Philly have needed and this is another signing who will be hoping to make a difference. Cory Burke isn’t exactly a household name but he has international experience under his belt with Jamaica. Coming in from USL side Bethlehem Steel FC, he bagged an nine goals in 25 games last season. He will be looking to put pressure on his teammates Jay Simpson and C.J. Sapong for a starting place.

Notable Departures

Chris Pontius: Heading into his tenth MLS campaign having scored 45 goals in 215 games, Chris Pontius leaves Philly after two seasons. His experience will be missed but it seems a good time for him to be moved on as both parties look to freshen things up.

Roland Alberg: Having played 52 times for Philadelphia over two seasons Roland Alberg is on the move. He scored 16 goals and picked up four assists during his time at the club and will be a miss in the middle of the park.

Eastern Conference Predictions: MLS Week 32 – Playoff ranking battle continues

Eastern Conference Predictions: MLS Week 32 – With just two games remaining, the Eastern Conference top six has already been confirmed. Toronto FC have been crowned Supporters’ Shield champions, but there is still plenty for the rest of the top six to fight for ahead of the postseason.

The five Eastern Conference fixtures will kickoff at the same time on Sunday evening at 17:00 ET (22:00 BST). You’d be mistaken to think any of the teams in action will take it easy just because they have already secured a playoff spot. The battle for a second-placed finish goes on to secure a Knockout Round bye. Read on for all of this weekend’s Eastern Conference predictions: MLS week 32 is going to be an exciting one…

Toronto 3-1 Montreal Impact

The buzz around Toronto continues after being crowned Supporters’ Shield champions, but there is no time to take their foot off the gas. Montreal Impact have missed out on the playoffs in what has been an underwhelming season. The home side could be boosted with the return of Sebastian Giovinco, they’ll need him fit and inform if they’re to go the distance in the playoffs. Expect a TFC win.

Orlando City 2-2 Columbus Crew

Orlando’s 2017 campaign hasn’t been one to remember. Although they have missed out on the playoffs, this should be a special occasion. Kaka, who has been their captain since their inception to MLS, announced he will be leaving the club at the end of the season. This will be his final game. The Lions’ faithful will be holding out for him to sign off in style and make it a memorable ending. Columbus Crew will have no time for sentiment however, they’ll be looking to finish the season strongly as the playoffs loom.

New York Red Bulls 1-1 Atlanta United

This is possibly one of the most important fixtures in the Eastern Conference this weekend. Atlanta can still finish second. They trail NYCFC by three points with two games remaining. They’ll be hoping to secure second place to get the reward of a bye in what has been an incredible debut season. NYCFC will be holding out for their rivals to do them a favour. It was a healthy win last time out for Red Bulls. They look likely to finish 6th in the conference, but that won’t be a concern to them, with a playoff place secured.

New England Revolution 1-3 New York City

As mentioned, New York City are sitting second in the East. The Knockout Round bye is theirs to lose as things stand. This is New England’s last home game of the 2017 season. It hasn’t exactly been what the doctor ordered for the Revs faithful. They need to give their fans something to be cheerful of to sign off 2017 as their countdown to next season beings early. In all honesty, NYCFC should be looking to take three points here and likely confirm second place.

Chicago Fire 2-1 Philadelphia Union

Who would have thought this time last season Chicago would be in the playoffs a year later? The Fire have been impressive in 2017 and have rightfully booked their place in the postseason. Philadelphia have nothing left to play for other than pride. If it’s any conciliation to their fans, they can’t finish bottom of the East, as DC United have got that locked down. We predict Chicago to make it three games without a loss and pick up another home win.

MLS Predictions Week 30 – Race for the top of the West

There are three huge fixtures at the top of the Western Conference this weekend. Leaders Vancouver Whitecaps travel to Children’s Mercy Park to take third on placed Sporting Kansas City. Second placed Portland Timbers are on the road as they face San Jose, while fourth placed Seattle Sounders also face an away fixture at Philadelphia. Just one point separates the top four heading into the weekend… who will be on top come Sunday evening?

Sporting Kansas City 2-1 Vancouver Whitecaps 

This is possibly biggest game of the weekend. SKC are unbeaten in their last 24 home games in Major League Soccer and their last three have all been wins at home. Vancouver Whitecaps had been on a fine run of form, but their unbeaten streak came to an end away at Seattle on Wednesday. Worryingly for Vancouver, in their seven-game unbeaten run they only played once away from home. SKC are a real force at home and should leapfrog Vancouver this weekend given their vulnerabilities on the road.

 

San Jose Earthquakes 1-3 Portland Timbers

Portland Timbers will fancy their chances of taking three points away from home as they travel to take San Jose. The home side have lost their last two on the bounce, conceding eight goals along the way. While San Jose are still in the race for a playoff spot, their struggles have been all too apparent. Portland have only lost one of their last six and have a really good chance of finishing the weekend as Western Conference leaders.

Philadelphia Union 1-2 Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders prepare themselves for the long trip to Eastern Conference strugglers Philadelphia. While Seattle have not been setting the world alight in recent weeks, just two wins in their last seven games, they are definitely in the mix for the battle to top the West. Philadelphia still have a mathematical chance of finishing in the top six but their season is all but over already and results from this weekend will surely confirm that point. We expect a Seattle win.

MLS Video Review disallows FC Dallas goal on debut night of VAR

The first official MLS Video Review took place on Saturday as the league’s new VAR system made its debut. The incident took place in the game between Philadelphia Union and FC Dallas, with the visitors seeing a goal ruled out in the 79th minute after the play was reviewed.

Ricardo Salazar was the referee who signalled to initiate the first official MLS Video Review in league history. The incident came after FC Dallas scored in the 79th minute, with Philadelphia Union leading 3-0 at the time the ball crossed the line.

Maximiliano Urruti tapped into an empty net to score the Dallas goal. But Cristian Colman fouled John McCarthy in the build-up to the goal. The officials failed to spot that incident originally. So Salazar consulted his VAR, Hilario Grajeda.

Colman tried to take the ball past McCarthy after being put through on goal. But the Paraguayan forward kicked the ‘keeper in the groin after failing to get past him. That prevented the goalkeeper from recovering quickly enough to stop Urruti from scoring the rebound.

The FC Dallas players ran away celebrating, before Salazar began speaking to his Video Assistant Referee about a potential Video Review. He eventually signalled for the first MLS Video Review, before watching the incident back on a TV monitor.

WATCH: The first official MLS Video Review in league history:

Salazar ruled the goal out and Philadelphia kept their 3-0 lead intact. FC Dallas did eventually get on the board, with Michael Barrios scoring in stoppage time, with the game ending 3-1.

At the tenth time of trying, Philadelphia Union finally picked up a victory over FC Dallas. A CJ Sapong double either side of Ilsinho goal saw the hosts make it four-straight wins at Talen Energy Stadium. They are now just three points outside the playoff spots in the East with 11 games to play.

FC Dallas have lost back-to-back games for just the second time this season. They need to bounce back quickly with a whole host of teams queuing up behind them in the Western Conference.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Philadelphia Union vs Columbus Crew

Major League Soccer: Philadelphia Union vs Columbus Crew

Talen Enegry Stadium – Wednesday, July 26 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)

Match Odds: Philadelphia 7/5 – Draw 12/5 – Columbus 17/10

Philadelphia Union vs Columbus Crew: Preview

Wednesday evening sees Philadelphia Union take on Columbus Crew for the second time in four days. The two are separated by eight points ahead of the game, with Columbus three places higher in the Eastern Conference.

Philadelphia lost 1-0 away at Columbus last Saturday. Their fans will be hoping they can overturn that result this week, however they face a tough task to do so.

The Union have been inconsistent this season and are 9th in the East as a result. They have lost two in a row, but have only lost one of their last seven home games, winning five.

Columbus Crew are 6th in the Eastern Conference coming into Week 21. They will want to make it back-to-back wins against Philadelphia on Wednesday evening. However, after their 1-0 win on Saturday evening, they know this is not going to be a walk in the park.

Gregg Berhalter will have his side well prepared for this game. Another three points here would put them up to 4th in the table, increasing their playoff hopes at a vital stage of the campaign.

Worryingly for Columbus they have only won one of their last five away games, losing the other four. But that win did come in their latest road trip, so they do have something to build on.

Philadelphia Union vs Columbus Crew

Columbus Crew dressing room vs Philadelphia Union via: Crew SC on Twitter

Philadelphia Union vs Columbus Crew: Team News

The Union could be without six players through injury as Maurice Edu, Fabian Herbers and Derrick Jones are out. Raymon Gaddis, Fafa Picault and CJ Sapong are all doubts. Andre Blake and Chris Pontius are away on international duty and will face each other in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup Final on Wednesday night.

Columbus Crew could also be without six. Gaston Sauro and Ben Swanson remain out for the rest of the season. Niko Hansen, Mohammed Abu and Nicolai Naess are all doubts. Federico Higuain will be the biggest miss for Columbus.

Philadelphia Union vs Columbus Crew: Key Points

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

Columbus Crew’s last five: L/W/L/W/W

Key Stat: Nines – The Columbus Crew trio of Higuain, Kamara and Meram have netted 27 goals between them this season, all with nine goals each. That’s one more than the entire Philadelphia Union side has managed in 2017.

Key Player: Justin Meram – Columbus Crew’s No. 9 has contributed to 14 of his sides’ 31 goals in the 2017 regular season. If he’s on song here, the Union will struggle to contain him.

Philadelphia Union vs Columbus Crew: Prediction

Philadelphia Union 1-2 Columbus Crew –Philadelphia to fall short against Columbus again. Recent form and stats give Columbus Crew the edge, but they are going to have to improve on their away performances if they are to take all three points in what should be an intriguing matchup between the pair again.