Gerhard Struber hailed the magnitude of the New York Red Bulls’ derby win over New York City FC, as attention turns to the Philadelphia Union.
Red Bulls beat their city rivals 1-0 at the weekend, following a 1-1 draw between the teams last week.
The win boosted the Red Bulls’ chances of sealing a playoff spot, with Struber’s side involved in a tight tussle for a postseason spot in the Eastern Conference.
Next up are the Union, who sit eight places ahead of the Red Bulls but, remarkably, only eight points ahead.
“I can feel in many moments that the determination, the desire come back, and in the end, I think we deserve the win,” Struber said after the win over NYCFC.
“Absolutely, it is a big win, it is a big feeling, and to win away against a team on this level.
“I think my boys always try their best and my boys always try to find spaces, they find synchronized moments. But today, yes, we are sharp like a knife, and I think they feel that from the first second.”
Philadelphia coach Jim Curtin, meanwhile, hailed his side’s display in their 1-0 win over Atlanta United.
“I thought overall our best performance of the season,” Curtin said. “In some ways, maybe the players were a little extra motivated just reading all the headlines this week about how good Atlanta is and certainly they are an incredible team.
“Very good attacking players, but we think we have a good team too. They probably got sick and tired of hearing me pump up Atlanta, too, and talking about how dangerous all their players are on the field.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
New York Red Bulls – Omir Fernandez
Omir Fernandez scored his second goal of the season to win the derby, and it was his second strike in the space of three games, meaning he heads into Wednesday’s clash in fine form.
Philadelphia Union – Kacper Przybylko
Kacper Przybylko delivered for the Union yet again against Atlanta, scoring his ninth goal of the season. He is Philadelphia’s top scorer and will pose a huge threat to the Red Bulls’ defense.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– The Union are unbeaten in five straight matches against the Red Bulls (W4 D1, including playoffs), including picking up a win and draw already this season. This is Philadelphia’s longest-ever unbeaten run against the Red Bulls and tied for the longest by either team in series history.
– The Red Bulls are unbeaten in three straight matches (W2 D1) following a 1-0 derby win at New York City FC. This is the first time the Red Bulls have collected seven points in a three-match span since the opening three games of the 2020 season (W2 D1).
– The Union are winless in eight straight away matches (D4 L4) including losing their last two on the road. Philadelphia hasn’t lost three straight away matches in a single season since losing its first four road games of the 2018 season.
– There have been a total of six goals scored in the Red Bulls’ last five home games (three for, three against), following a 3-2 loss to New England on July 31. The Red Bulls have not scored or conceded more than once in any game in that time.
– Przybylko scored his ninth goal of the season in the Union’s win over Atlanta United on Saturday after a 15-goal campaign in 2019. Only one player has multiple 10-goal regular seasons for the Union: Sebastien Le Toux, who did so in 2010, 2011 and 2014.