- Second-seeded Philadelphia hosts seventh-seeded New York Red Bulls in first round of MLS playoffs
- Union went 11-3-3 at home this season, winning their only home match against NYRB
- Read on for betting odds, a full preview and the best bet for Saturday’s opening match of the MLS playoffs
One of the best teams in the Eastern Conference meets one of the hottest teams in the entire MLS in the opening game of this year’s playoffs, on Saturday, November 20th at 2:30pm ET.
The Philadelphia Union and New York Red Bulls will lock horns in the playoffs for the second time in two years, with the Union triumphing 4-3 in extra time in their first-round matchup back in 2019.
Union vs Red Bulls Odds
|Philadelphia Union vs New York Red Bulls||PHI -1.5 (+150) | NYRB +1.5 (-170)||PHI +150 | NYRB +220 | DRAW +205||Ov 2.5 (+140) | Un 2.5 (-180)|
Odds as of November 20th at DraftKings
Union Facing Ghosts Of Playoffs Past
With a 1-6 all-time playoff mark, Philadelphia’s track record at the sharp end of the season is anything but great. And the Union likely have even greater motivation this year after last season’s implosion, when they followed up the first Supporters’ Shield in team history as the best team in the regular season with another first-round exit, at the hands of the New England Revolution.
We go for Philly.
We go for you.
𝗪𝗲 𝗴𝗼 𝗮𝗴𝗮𝗶𝗻.
— x – PhilaUnion (@PhilaUnion) November 18, 2021
Getting On The Board
To ensure that they have the maximum chance of winning, both Philadelphia and New York would do well to score the opening goal. Both were among the better teams in ensuring that scoring first was translated into a win this season, with Philadelphia posting a 14-2-3 record when getting on the board first, while New York was no slouch, going 13-5-4 when getting the ball over the line before their opponents.
Union Happy At Home
Likely one of the most crucial variants in deciding the winner of this playoff tilt is its location in Chester, Pa. The Union have very much enjoyed playing in front of their fans this season, going 11-3-3 there, good for a .735 winning percentage that is tied for the second-best in MLS along with the Colorado Rapids.
While winning at home in the regular season is always great, history is on the home team’s side in the playoffs too. Since MLS switched to a single-elimination bracket format two years ago, the home teams have won 21 of the 30 matchups. Even before that, in the single-legged ties that took place in the league’s first 24 years, the home side advances in 69.4% of the instances.
Philadelphia Has Recent Edge
Jim Curtin’s team is currently riding a five-game unbeaten streak against the Red Bulls, winning three of those games, most recently back on May 15. The teams have played two draws – both at Red Bull Arena – since that contest.
// 11.20 @ 2:30 PM ET on Univision, TUDN, MSG+ and Red Bulls Radio // pic.twitter.com/usq0pmPMEk
— New York Red Bulls (Playoff Version) (@NewYorkRedBulls) November 19, 2021
The Red Bulls, however, haven’t beaten the Union since September 22, 2019, when they triumphed 2-0 at home.
Red Bulls Red Hot
There are few teams hotter than the Red Bulls coming into this year’s playoffs. New York seemed dead and buried for much of the season, but a late spurt carried it into the playoffs, and saw it extend its postseason run to a 12th straight year.
— New York Red Bulls (Playoff Version) (@NewYorkRedBulls) November 20, 2021
Gerhard Struber’s team picked up 25 of the 36 points available to it over its last 12 matches, the most points by any team in the Eastern Conference over that span.
Philadelphia Union vs New York Red Bulls 2021 Stats
|14-8-12||2021 MLS Record||13-12-9|
|39.7||Expected Goals Against||39.0|
|LWDWD||Form This Season||WLWDD|
Union vs Red Bulls Pick
On top of being a team in form, New York is also a team with a clear identity – defense first. Struber’s squad conceded an MLS-low 33 goals this season, and conceded just 22 goals away from home, which is the lowest total in a 17-game road schedule in franchise history.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) November 19, 2021
And defense powered the Red Bulls’ recent run too, with the team giving up just three goals in their six most recent road games, a run which included three clean sheets.
Best bet: New York Red Bulls (+220)