Decision Day 2016: New York Red Bulls vs Philadelphia Union Preview

It’s Decision Day 2016 for Major League Soccer. For the New York Red Bulls however, this day will most likely not affect their MLS Playoff path. After getting a 3-2 win against Columbus Crew SC last week, as well as getting favorable results from both Toronto FC and New York City FC, the Red Bulls are well on their way to having the top seed in the Eastern Conference. The only way the Red Bulls could lose this spot is if they suffer a loss and NYCFC is able to erase the 13 goal difference.

In the final match of the MLS Regular Season, the Red Bulls face a very familiar foe. This Sunday, the Red Bulls will be facing the Philadelphia Union for a fourth time this season across all competitions. The Union have been a thorn in the side of the Red Bulls all season. They first eliminated them from U.S Open Cup play, then followed it up by drawing them 2-2 at Talon Energy Stadium. This match was one of the first of many in which the Red Bulls held a two goal lead on the road and couldn’t hang on. The final match saw the Red Bulls defeat Philly 3-2 in a very hard fought match at Red Bull Arena earlier this month.

Decision Day: New York Red Bulls vs Philadelphia Union Preview

Projected Lineup

Three Players to Watch

Gonzalo Veron

Veron has seen very limited time this season. However, with the playoffs around the corner there is no doubt that Veron will play a role for this team. While that role remains in question, Jesse Marsch should give Veron solid playing time for this match. While the Argentine international has looked very dangerous is limited play, one would like to see Veron be able to be sharp for an extended period.

Mike Grella

Grella finally got the proverbial monkey off his back. Last time out against Columbus, Grella scored his first goal since he scored twice on June 19th against the Seattle Sounders. Grella has been looking in better form over his last few matches. It appears that troublesome middle part of the season is behind him and he will look to continue this good stretch. If Grella can find that early season form he had, it would be a huge boost to their team going into the post-season.

Bradley Wright-Phillips

While the Red Bulls have first in the MLS Eastern Conference all but locked up, this is still an important match for BWP. He currently has 23 goals for the season. This is just one goal ahead of NYCFC’s David Villa for the MLS Golden Boot Race. Should BWP win it, it would be his second Golden Boot in three years. Wright-Phillips would only be the fifth man in MLS history to have done so. Regardless of the outcome, this has been a fantastic year for BWP.

Final Thoughts

The main goal for the Red Bulls in this match is to keep everybody healthy by the time of the final whistle. With the luck the Red Bulls have had this year with injuries, Marsch should air on the side of caution. The Union have yet to clinch a spot in the post-season yet, so they will be looking for a win.

Score: 2-2