Don’t overlook New York City FC here. After coming off a recent 5-0 win in their second match of the 2021 MLS season, the stock for manager Ronny Delia’s men has risen significantly.
There’s reason to be concerned about the Philadelphia Union as well. Despite the latest win of their own, they’ve had less time to rest and haven’t exactly been the most convincing team in their start to the season.
Although NYCFC will be visiting, they should be able to maintain their momentum and get the win over Philadelphia.
NYCFC for the win (+230)
|Philadelphia Union vs New York City FC Information|
|What||Philadelphia Union vs New York City FC|
|Where||Subaru Park (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)|
|When||Saturday, May 1st at 7:30 pm ET|
|How to Watch||Watch on ESPN+ here!|
Regardless of the fact that they have yet to win an MLS Cup, in their short history, NYCFC do a commendable job when it comes to solid regular season performances. They’ve qualified for the last five editions of the playoffs, they tend to have respectable goal differentials, and since acquiring Delia as a manager in early 2020, there’s no lack of excitement for what he can achieve in his second year.
This is especially true when you look back at their latest result, a 5-0 thrashing of FC Cincinnati last week. With 22 shots, NYCFC overwhelmed the visitors with their thrilling movement in the final third.
Victories like these are capable of providing teams with a substantial amount of confidence, and although they’ll now be making the away trip to take on last season’s Supporters’ Shield winners, that confidence should be enough to take on a squad that aren’t firing on cylinders just yet.
After kicking off 2021 with a draw and a loss, worries began to emerge from Union fans. Without a few starters from last season who are no longer with the club, could they still be as outstanding as they were in 2020 when they collected more points than any other team in the league?
On Wednesday, those concerns were temporarily pushed away when Philadelphia claimed a headline-stealing 3-0 away win over Atlanta United in the Concacaf Champions League. And yet, on deeper inspection, Philadelphia were perhaps lucky to get away with the result.
While Atlanta failed to capitalize on their chances with an xG (expected goals) rating of 2.23, Philadelphia somehow found a way to overcompensate with their own xG rating of 1.5.
Credit should be given to Philadelphia for taking advantage of their opportunities, but when looking at the stats, the result should have probably gone the other way.
But what about NYCFC? Are their statistics any better?
Actually, yes. In fact, during their 2-1 loss to DC United that preceded their 5-0 win, NYCFC finished with a higher xG of 0.83 than that of DC United’s which was a 0.45. On another day, NYCFC could have potentially walked away with a narrow 1-0 result in their favor.
And the good news for them is that a certain member of their attack looks ready to potentially help cover up any problems that could emerge this weekend.
With two goals and an assist in just two matches, few players in the league have looked more ready to make an impact than Castellanos. Young Argentina looks impeccable for NYCFC and given another start this weekend, the 22-year-old could once again help find the back of the net.
Which is nothing new from last season. In his last three games of 2020, Castellanos had four goals and two assists.
Keep an eye on the player this weekend.
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Freelance writer Cesar Hernandez is a specialist in all things American and Mexican soccer. He has written for ESPN FC, The Athletic, The Guardian, FourFourTwo, VICE Sports and several other publications. Along with writing and previous radio appearances on the BBC, talkSPORT and SiriusXM FC, Cesar is also a member of the Mexican Soccer Show podcast. Email: [email protected]More info on Cesar Hernandez
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