Keys to the Game

KEYS TO THE GAME: Philadelphia Union vs. New York Red Bulls

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Get to know the matchup in Keys to the Game:

No Days Off

With the 2023 Leagues Cup in full swing, already down to just 16 teams, the tournament is demanding a lot of its participating clubs within a short time frame.

Both New York and Philadelphia played their last matches on Thursday night, with the Red Bulls taking a 1-0 win over New York City and the Union winning over D.C. United in penalty kicks after a 0-0 draw.

Just four days later, the two sides will be meeting to continue the Leagues Cup action at Subaru Park without much of a rest period in between games.

Monday will mark the Red Bulls’ third match in a nine-day period, and the club’s first Leagues Cup match away from home.

With the tournament quickly progressing, the pace of the schedule itself may begin to wear on the teams’ performances.

Changing the Narrative

Through the Red Bulls’ first two games in the inaugural Leagues Cup Knockout Stage, the club has been tasked with facing their two across-the-river rivals. New York started with a Round of 32 match against NYCFC, who had to cross the Hudson River to come to Red Bull Arena.

After claiming a 1-0 against New York City, the Red Bulls now must take a trip across the Delaware River to Chester, Pa. to play a Round of 16 match against the Philadelphia Union.

New York has not claimed a win at Subaru Park since October 21, 2018, when the Red Bulls earned a 1-0 victory over Philadelphia.

With Monday’s match needing a winner to move on to the quarterfinals, the Red Bulls will have to find a way to do something they have not done in almost five years: cross the Delaware and take down the Union.

Front-Line Face-off

With the Leagues Cup offering a chance for teams to test new tactics and for players to step up, both New York and Philadelphia’s offensive sides have been propelling their clubs forward.

Philadelphia swept through Group Stage play with six points and an impressive eight goals in two games.

The Union’s no. 10 Dániel Gazdag put up four goals in Philadelphia’s last three matches, scoring a hat trick against Liga MX’s Queretaro.

On New York’s side, midfielder Omir Fernandez and forward Dante Vanzeir each lead the team with five goals across all competitions this season.

In addition to the goals, Fernandez tallied three assists, while Vanzeir tallied one.

While each team’s defense has been in strong form, with the Union conceding two goals so far in the tournament to the Red Bulls’ one, Monday’s match will likely be decided by those on the attacking ends of the pitch.