Philadelphia Union vs New York City FC Preview, Predictions, Betting Picks: Philly On Moneyline

Leon FlachThe second of Sunday’s Major League Soccer playoff semifinals sees the Philadelphia Union host New York City FC at Subaru Park (8pm ET). Can the team that finished the regular season top of the Eastern Conference get the better of the current MLS Cup holders? This preview with its betting picks and predictions should clarify that. Stay tuned for what ought to be a thrilling encounter in Pennsylvania.

Thanks to claiming the Supporter’s Shield in the east, Philadelphia Union were afforded the luxury of missing the first round of playoff games. That allowed them extra time to prepare for their quarterfinal clash against Cincinnati, and that time paid off, as they delivered a sturdy performance to run out 1-0 winners. It was thanks to a goal from Austrian midfielder Leon Flach, who has become an integral part of the Union’s on-field structure since joining from German side St Pauli in 2021.

Make no mistake about it, it was far from plain sailing, and the Union certainly had to withstand some pressure, but they stood firm, weathered the storm, and got their noses in front in fighting fashion. Both the victory and the clean sheet should mean that Jim Curtin’s men come into this clash against last season’s MLS Cup winners feeling confident.

For NYCFC, it was simple stuff against Inter Miami in the first round. The men in sky blue made light work of coming out on top, scoring three goals, and conceding zero in the process. Inspired by that win, they set off for Canada, where CF Montreal lay in wait.

Their task at Saputo Stadium appeared to be an uphill one, what with the Montreal boys coming off the back of a great regular season at home, but the visitors showed what they have got to offer when it comes to knockout football. In fine counter-attacking fashion, they soaked up the pressure before dealing their hosts’ three hammer blows. After that win, there is absolutely no writing off Nick Cushing’s men, who are bidding to become the first to win back-to-back MLS Cups since the Los Angeles Galaxy back in 2012.

Tough at Subaru Park

Just as many who went before did, Cincinnati found out just how difficult it is to get a result at Subaru Park last time out. The Union held strong, as they always do and gave the visitors nothing, before pouncing in typical fashion. Sure, they can play teams off the park and run out easy winners, but what Sunday’s hosts can also do is grind out a win in low-key fashion, which is an invaluable skill to have when it comes to knockout soccer.

What is perhaps the most impressive thing about the Union is their ability to concede so few goals at home. In their last five home games, they have conceded just two goals, giving away an average of only 0.78 xG. Again, such defensive security gives them the perfect platform for success in the playoffs.

Have the visitors got what it takes offensively?

To go to Subaru Park and get a result, you need all aspects of the game, but you especially need to have a menacing attack. The visitors have scored five goals in their last two away games. They showed a fantastic ability to hurt teams on the break in Montreal last time out, but they won’t be allowed such counter-attacking freedom against the Union, that’s for sure.

In games where they have had to break teams down, the men in sky blue have often struggled, especially on the road. They failed to score against both Charlotte and the New England Revolution back in September, while they did not exactly have the best of the game when losing by two goals to one at this venue back in June.

Philly’s fixture so far

This will be the third time that the pair have met in 2022. Each of the first two games went the way of the Union, who won by two goals to nil on the road back in March, before winning 2-1 at this venue in late June. They have also won three of the last four renewals of this fixture. That said, NYCFC have returned victorious from two of their last four visits to Subaru Park.

Who comes out on top?

For my money, the Philadelphia Union cannot be opposed here, it is as simple as that. In fact, they have done enough to warrant being a shorter price than they currently are.

We know that the hosts are the best in the business when it comes to keeping things tight before springing into action, and that is likely to negate the way Nick Cushing’s men want to play. If the visitors are not allowed to play on the break, they are simply not as effective.

This preview, with one eye on potential betting predictions and picks, must also consider just how good the Union are at getting the job done at home. They have won each of their last ten games at Subaru Park, keeping five clean sheets and conceding no more than a single goal in the process. In contrast, the visiting side have lost three of the last five on the road, as well as five of their last ten, only four of which they have won. Moreover, their record against teams who can keep it tight like the Union is very poor.

A look at a few of the regular season numbers is the final nail in the coffin so to speak. At home, Philly produced an average xG difference of +1.47, producing an average goal difference of +2.35. Conversely, NYCFC’s average expected goal difference on the road stood at +0.12 at the end of the regular campaign, while their actual goal difference stood at +00.35

All things considered, this is the Union’s backyard and they are supported by this preview to get the result they need in front of an expectant home crowd. So this recommended betting pick against the United States online bookies concludes our predictions:

  • Philadelphia Union to win on the moneyline @ best odds of -110 with Bovada.