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Game day hub: NYCFC at Philadelphia Union

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NYCFC faces the Union in the Eastern Conference Final of the 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs: Here is your pregame poll, injury report, playoff previews, and game thread

MLS: New York City FC at Philadelphia Union
Santi Rodrìguez is good at soccer.
Mitchell Leff-USA TODAY Sports

It's December, and it’s game day: Imagine that. New York City FC will play its first Eastern Conference Final match in club history when the team breezes down the New Jersey Turnpike to face the Philadelphia Union at Subaru Park in Chester, PA. The winner will play the Portland Timbers in the 2021 MLS Cup Final on Saturday, December 11.

• Game coverage starts at 3 pm. Find complete information on how to watch, stream, and listen to the game here.

• NYCFC is having its best run in club history. City were unbeaten in its final five games of the regular season, then comprehensively dismantled Atlanta United in the first round of the playoffs—it was NYCFC’s most convincing win of the season. This past Tuesday, NYCFC ground out a road win on the plastic grass at Gillette Stadium where they defeated the record-breaking New England Revolution on penalty kicks.

Poll

Today’s broadcast coverage on ABC will be...

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    Fair, unlike last week’s New England Revolution smoochfest on FS1
    (2 votes)
  • 27%
    Biased, just like last week’s New England Revolution smoochfest on FS1
    (5 votes)
  • 61%
    Fair, biased, whatever: As long as I don’t have to watch Alexi Lalas it’s good
    (11 votes)
18 votes total Vote Now

Key starters for the Union might miss the match because of COVID health and safety protocols. Yesterday, 11 players were classified as unavailable including goalkeeper Andre Blake, the hero of the Union’s penalty shootout win over Nashville SC in the Eastern Conference Semifinal. You can read more about it here.

• Philadelphia’s depleted squad flipped the equation for oddsmakers. Earlier this week the Union was picked to win, but yesterday NYCFC became heavy favorites.

• Three NYCFC players are unavailable for the game against the Union: Keaton Parks and Anton Tinnerholm are both out with season-ending injuries, and Taty Castellanos is taking a personal day. The rest of the squad is fit to play.

• Who will fill in at striker in place of Castellanos? Read about it here, then vote below.

Poll

In place of Taty Castellanos, manager Ronny Deila will play...

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Héber
    (5 votes)
  • 46%
    Talles Magno
    (15 votes)
  • 15%
    Ismael Tajouri Shradi
    (5 votes)
  • 15%
    Thiago
    (5 votes)
  • 6%
    Tony Rocha
    (2 votes)
32 votes total Vote Now

• NYCFC and Philadelphia met three times this year. NYCFC defeated the Union at Subaru Park 0-2 on May 1, when José Martínez’s kung fu hacks on Castellanos earned him a straight red; NYCFC lost to the Union 1-0 on August 18 at Subaru Park; and NYCFC drew the Union at Yankee Stadium 1-1 on November 7, when Castellanos scored his 19th goal of the season and won the Golden Boot. Curious about how Philadelphia will line up? Union supporter and colleague Joe Lister gave us his unvarnished opinion in Oppo research: Questions for Brotherly Game.

• The comment section below is for everybody in the Hudson River Blue community to use for the game thread. Not a member? It’s free: Sign up here.