It's like Groundhog Day: it's Pennsylvania, it keeps happening, and all you want to do is leave.
But you can't. It's Philadelphia, people. The gods will not save you.
Well, here we go. Again.
These two teams met twice in one week back in April, wrapping a 2-1 Philly win at PPL Park and a 1-1 draw at Yankee Stadium five days later. New York City had its chances in each match, but was undone in both cases by late Union goals, including a stoppage time stunner from Vincent Nogueira in the first fixture.
What's different now? First off, Philly has found a run of form, notching three wins in their last four games. Notably, they did something New York City could not-- they went to Red Bull Arena and won, although, to be fair, it was the first time they have ever done so.
Just for kicks, the Union dropped a potent Columbus Crew side 3-0 on Wednesday. The sky blue faithful will hope that Jason Kreis's team can take advantage of the opponent's short week.
Easier said than done: in addition to an injury report that remains devastatingly lengthy, the Bronx Blues will have to make do without Mix Diskerud. The flowing-haired midfielder is off in Europe with the U.S. Men's National Team.
But, as the Union proved twice already against NYCFC, it only takes one breakthrough to change everything:
"Things in this league can turn around like the switch of a light," Jason Kreis mused in mid-week.
Well, then. Fiat lux, Five Boroughs.
WEEK IN REVIEW
It was a top-drawer week at Hudson River Blue! Here's what went down:
- Fearless leader Raf Noboa y Rivera recapped the 1-1 home result against Houston Dynamo, and issued a stern prognosis for the team going forward.
- Andrea Pirlo rumors!!!!!!1!!!1!
- Peter Axtman delved into the nuts and bolts of last weekend's draw in the latest edition of "Monday Evening Centerback."
- Soccer and literature came together once again as our 90-Plus of Blue series returned to teach us about luck, opportunity, and T.S. Eliot.
- In this week's "NYCFC State of Mind" match review, we interrogated the long-awaited arrival of the Jason Kreis midfield diamond.
- SB Nation's Brotherly Game stopped by to answer three questions on the Philadelphia Union, and we did our best to return the favor on their turf.
OUT: Andre Blake (right meniscus), Michael Lahoud (right quad tear)
QUESTIONABLE: Fernando Aristeguieta (left fibula contusion), Conor Casey (left quad strain), Antoine Hoppenot (left hamstring strain), Steven Vitoria (left knee strain), Ethan White (left groin strain)
New York City:
OUT: Javier Calle (right quad strain), George John (right knee), Tony Taylor (left ACL), Josh Williams (left adductor)
DOUBTFUL: Khiry Shelton (left MCL sprain)
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS
New York City:
NOTE: If Kwadwo Poku starts in place of Grabavoy, it will break the internet. But it will do the opposite to our hearts.
HOW TO WATCH
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RUNNIN' THE NUMBERS
- 6: Consecutive games in which New York City have conceded an opening goal in the first thirty minutes.
- -13: Combined goal difference between NYC (-7) and Philadelphia (-6).
- 3: Goals scored off the bench this season by Union striker C.J. Sapong. He stole a point in the Bronx when he found the net in the 86th minute on April 11th.
- 35: Combined shots on goal this year for David Villa (21) and Fernando Aristeguieta (14). Both are tied for their respective team lead in goals scored with three each.
- 5, 5, 5: Games played this year, respectively, by Union goalkeepers Rais Mbolhi, John McCarthy, and Brian Sylvestre. NASL loanee Sylvestre has accounted for three of Philly's four clean sheets this year.
AN INSPIRATIONAL MESSAGE FROM THE BEASTIE BOYS
FEARLESS SATURDAY PREDICTIONS
UEFA Champions League: Juventus 3-3 Barcelona (Juventus wins on penalties)
Belmont Stakes: Materiality at 6-1. Remember Afleet Alex? That was a Belmont horse right there. Well, this is Alex's son.
FIFA World Cup: Canada 3-0 China. Netherlands 2-1 New Zealand.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Pocono: Just kidding!
Miguel Cotto vs. Daniel Geale: Cotto will win on a majority decision, and pave the way for a much-anticipated middleweight throwdown with Canelo Alvarez.
Elsewhere in MLS: DC United over Toronto, Columbus over Montreal, Vancouver over L.A., Seattle over Sporting KC, Orlando City over Chicago, New England over Portland.
Philadelphia Union vs. New York City FC: 2-2 draw. There, I said it.
MATCH THREAD RULES
Welcome back! We're glad you're here! Wipe your feet, mind the gap, and be sure to check out the other pages at this outstanding site. While you're here, though, we have a few rules and regulations.
- Absolutely no links to illegal streams. They're bad and they get us in trouble. Raf will be relegated to covering the Cosmos with Mike Petke. Sam will be thrown in a burlap sack and beaten with reeds. But seriously, they're illegal. So don't do it.
- We have rules against "relentless negativity." Nobody likes a Negative Nancy or Doubtful Darlington, even if the team gets off to an awful start. Don't knee-jerk and post outlandish or hurtful things just because you're frustrated.
- Along those lines, outright abuse of players or match officials is verboten. It's fine to say "wow, that's a bad call, match official," but it's NOT okay to direct copious amounts of abuse in the direction of said official over a call you did not like.
- Treat other people in the match thread the way you would want someone else to treat your grandmother. Be nice. Observe Wheaton's Law. This is a community of fans, not an un-moderated message board.
Finally, while we don't have a rule against profanity, any language that is sexist, racist, or homophobic in nature will be swiftly deleted. Most importantly, though: HAVE FUN, tip your wait staff, and remind those rascally Philadelphians what it's like to rep a REAL CITY (with REAL PIZZA).