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It’s the most electric atmosphere that Subaru Park has seen all year as Philadelphia Union play New York City Football Club.
The Union, plagued with a COVID-19 outbreak that have seen 11 players get placed on the COVID list. These players combined for a total of 17,312 minutes of total play throughout the season.
Yet, despite the lack of experience on the pitch, Philadelphia came out of the gates strong.
New York City FC knocked the ball around well however their chances remained dim. Meanwhile, Philadelphia made the most of their short time on the ball and generated the greater amount of chances amongst the two sides.
Andre Blake’s slipup when he massed into the middle was the biggest chance for either team during the first half. Union stepped up and won the ball, however a bad bounce went right into the hands of the Jamaican international.
As the second half rolled around, both teams finally settled into the game and the inexperienced Union fought hard, pressed high, and were able to win the ball in midfield multiple times.
Jose Martinez had a big showing, nearly going coast to coast only four minutes into the second half. Following that chance, the Union had a surge of momentum, and Andre Blake had to come up big on multiple occasions for NYCFC in order to keep them in the game.
The inexperienced, ‘B team’, had a chip on their shoulders and it was evident, NYCFC were not ready for the intense style of play that Philly had to offer.
Then, in the 60th minute, Kacper Pryzbylko scored a volley goal off of a lovely chip that put the Union B team 1-0 up. Shockwaves were sent around the stadium, Subaru Park was so loud you could feel the ground shaking as yellow towels were waving in all four sections of the stadium.
Union fans were on cloud 9, quite loudly in fact.
However, all good things must come to an end, and only two minutes later, NYCFC equalized and sent the game to 1-1 off of a second ball chance inside the box.
Just like that, all you could hear in the stadium were the scarce NYCFC corners in the back left of the stadium.
After that, the game was all NYCFC.
The Union had their chances, however all were either saved or went over the bar.
Then, in the 87th minute, NYCFC took the ball downfield on a counter attack and then the 19 year old Brazilian for NYCFC, a player that is seen as part of the next generation of not just the MLS, but soccer as whole, none other than Talles Magno, tapped in a cross that saw NYCFC take a 2-1 lead.
The crowd went silent once again as Union players layed on the ground, exhausted and mentally worn from knowing that the goal put a major dent in their chances of an MLS Cup, and they were right.
The final whistle blew soon after and as Philly mourned, NCYFC ran to the away section to celebrate with their supporters. Their celebration was long, energetic, and most importantly, a first. This Eastern Confernece Final win marked NYCFC’s first trophy as a club.
After the game, Union manager, Jim Curtin, talked about the impact the COVID protocols had on his team “I feel awful for the 11 players at home who were healthy and couln’t play tonight.”
Many Union fans critized Curtin for waiting until the final minutes to put in his subisitues, however, on the other hand, some fans argue he didn’t have many options.
Overall, the Union fell short yet again of their dream and goal of the MLS Cup, but with bright young talent such as Paxten Aaronson and Jack McGylnn, it’s looking very likely that they will bounce right back up next year.
As for NYCFC, they will travel to Portland, Oregon, for the MLS Cup Final where they will play the hottest team in the MLS, the Portland Timbers.
A writer who loves to learn and share.
All Editorials written by Chris Dailey