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May 14, 2024 6:59 pm

NYCFC not taking Union lightly despite home struggles

santiago rodriguez

The Philadelphia Union hope to halt a rare home losing streak when they face New York City FC on Wednesday in Chester, Pa.

The Union (3-3-5, 14 points) have been virtually unbeatable at Subaru Park in recent years, but their 3-2 loss to Orlando City on Saturday was their third straight defeat on home soil.

It’s the first time Philadelphia — mired in a five-match winless streak overall (0-3-2) — has lost three home matches in a single MLS regular season since 2021.

“We’ve kind of, for whatever reason, shot ourselves in the foot a bit in the recent games … but we have to stick together as a group, find a way to tighten things up,” Philadelphia head coach Jim Curtin said.

Daniel Gazdag has paced the Union attack with seven goals, including one from the penalty spot during Saturday’s loss to Orlando. He has scored in all but three of his 10 appearances in MLS play this season.

New York City (5-5-2, 17 points) is 4-1-0 in its past five matches following a 1-4-2 start, most recently defeating Toronto FC 3-2 on Saturday for its first away win of the season.

That match was marred by an ugly brawl after the whistle, with Toronto head coach John Herdman afterward accusing NYCFC head coach Nick Cushing of punching an unnamed 19-year-old Toronto player during the last meeting between the two sides on March 16.

NYCFC on Monday requested MLS investigate the nature of the allegation, while Cushing “categorically” denied the claim.

“I am shocked, personally,” he said. “I’m upset by the allegation.”

That comes in the midst of Cushing being tasked with preparing his side for another “intense” trip to suburban Philadelphia to face the Union.

“We know what that arena is like when there is a huge motivation and a huge desire to win. They’re going to have that irrelevant of their past results or their form,” he said.

Santiago Rodriguez is the leading scorer for New York City with five goals, his 23rd-minute spot kick opening the scoring on Saturday in Toronto.

Malachi Jones, the eighth overall pick in the 2024 MLS SuperDraft, added a goal to NYCFC’s winning cause in his first MLS start.

–Field Level Media

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