Philadelphia Union is back in league action this weekend as they face off against rivals New York Red Bulls on Saturday night on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.
The Boys in Blue enter coming off a difficult road setback on Tuesday night that saw the club conclude its run in the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League Semifinals in a grueling two-legged series against LAFC. Facing off against one of the club's biggest rivals gives the Union a fresh start as they look to climb up the Eastern Conference but again presents more travel logistics.
After flying across the country following the match, the Union will have only two days to prepare for the Red Bulls well known high press and direct attack that tests clubs on a full week's rest. On the other side of Saturday's match sees another road trip west with the Union taking on Minnesota United FC in a Round of 32 contest of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Fatigue won't be an excuse used by the Union as their depth has been highlighted multiple times by Union Head Coach Jim Curtin as the club has navigated league play and CCL but the focus will be points on Saturday night.
Philly vs. Red Bull has always produced tight margined contests over the years especially when Union Sporting Director Ernst Tanner joined the rivalry. With press vs press, the two teams bring the best out of one another with tremendous moments producing spectacular goals. In 2019 the Union rallied for a pair of two-goal deficits to secure an extra time win in the MLS Cup Playoffs with a chipped goal from Marco Fabian. Two years later it was Jakob Glesnes blast toward the River End in extra time that sent Subaru Park into a frenzy. Just last year the Union took their flair on the road with homegrown Jack McGlynn putting on a show with an impressive flick in the midfield to set up a Mikeal Uhre second-half goal.
Saturday's match will be the 40th matchup between the two sides with the Boys in Blue owning a 16-15-8 advantage since they first crossed paths in 2010. The rivalry has seen its fair share of domination in recent memory as well with the Union unbeaten in their last nine matches against the New Jersey squad. Another result on Saturday night would be even more history as the Boys in Blue would join New England and San Jose as the only clubs in MLS history to go at least 10 games unbeaten against the Red Bulls.
The 2023 version of New York Red Bulls has seen a slow start to their campaign with the playoff contender at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings with nine points through 10 league matches. The slow starts have even been an issue in their matches, with the squad having to play catch up in all but one of their matches. Despite the slow starts, Gerhard Struber's squad has shown resilience with seven of their nine points coming from losing positions in 2023. The latest came against Chicago Fire FC as former Union forward Cory Burke entered in the second half and scored in the 89th minute to pick up a 1-1 draw.