Union-New York City FC Preview
New York City FC head coach Ronny Deila feels the sky is the limit for his side as they prepare to host Philadelphia Union.
New York remain clinging onto their seventh place in the Eastern Conference, a point clear of CF Montreal with one game to go after defeating Inter Miami CF 3-1.
However, Deila still wants more from his men despite praising Valentin Castellanos, who he feels is one of the best in his position in MLS.
"I've said many times, this team is capable to do everything, but we have to raise our bottom level," Deila said. "To do that, it takes experience. Today we played like a grown-up team that is mature and makes really good decisions, then you get points.
"He's maybe the best striker in the league. Him and Maxi (Chanot) are special.
"These guys, when they are switched on and work like this and are organized like this, then we are a really good football team."
Philadelphia currently share second place with Nashville SC, after coasting past FC Cincinnati 2-0 last time out to move onto 53 points.
As the visitors' head coach Jim Curtin eyes the playoffs, he expressed his desire to secure a home tie in the next round.
"Going to Yankee Stadium, obviously we've set ourselves up now where we kind of control our own destiny," Curtin said. "Ideally you get a top-four seed to host a playoff game in Subaru Park here.
"We'll see how it shakes out, but we certainly want to go for that two seed and hopefully find ourselves in a situation where we can host some playoff games.
"New York City (are a team) that's very well-coached, has a ton of talent on the field and is a difficult place to go play, we need to be perfect in that last game."
New York City FC - Valentin Castellanos
Valentin Castellanos recorded two goals and one assist versus Inter Miami, bringing his total to 18 goals and one assist for the year.
Philadelphia Union - Daniel Gazdag
Daniel Gazdag set up the key pass to captain Alejandro Bedoya inside the opening minute for the early lead against Toronto FC. Then against Cincinnati he scored an 11th-minute goal and registered a secondary assist for Paxten Aaronson's finish.
●New York City FC has never lost a home match against the Union (W5 D1), winning the last five in a row, including a 3-1 playoff win in 2018. This will be the first meeting between the sides in New York since a 4-2 NYCFC victory in June 2019.
●New York City FC has won three straight matches, equaling its longest winning streak of the season. NYCFC's only four-match winning streak since the start of 2020 came in the final four regular season matches last year.
●The Union have won just one of their last 13 away matches (D7 L5), a 2-1 victory at Cincinnati on October 9. Philadelphia has conceded at least once in all 13 of those matches, the second-longest active streak of away matches without a clean sheet in MLS (Dallas - 19, including playoffs).
●Valentín Castellanos scored twice in New York City's win over Inter Miami in its last match to take the lead in the Golden Boot race entering Decision Day with 18. The last player to win the Golden Boot with fewer than 22 goals in a full season was Dwayne De Rosario (D.C.) with 16 in 2011.
●Two of the three youngest goalscorers in MLS this season play for the Union: Quinn Sullivan (2 goals, born March 27, 2004) and Paxten Aaronson (3 goals, born August 26, 2003). The only other player born in June 2003 or later to score this MLS season is San Jose's Cade Cowell (5 goals, born October 14, 2003).
Updated November 5, 2021