The last time the Philadelphia Union faced the New York Red Bulls to open the Major League Soccer playoffs was in 2019. And it was memorable — especially for the Union.
Philadelphia fell behind 3-1 in the first half, only to come back and win 4-3 in extra time. Marco Fabian scored the winning goal in the 105th minute. It was the Union’s first playoff victory.
“I have vivid memories of that 2019 game against Red Bull. We obviously made playoff history for the club winning the first game,” Union captain Alejandro Bedoya said. “But it’s a whole new year and a whole new season, brand new team with different players, so I hope that we perform to a level where we’re not going to be down 2-0 or 3-1 to have to come back.”
The two teams face off again to open the playoffs Saturday as the league resumes play after an international break.
Philadelphia secured the second seed in the Eastern Conference behind Supporters’ Shield winner New England, which has an opening round bye. It is the Union’s fourth consecutive trip to the playoffs.
Last year after winning the Supporters’ Shield, the Union fell to the Revolution in the opening round.
The Red Bulls, who have been to the postseason 12 straight years, finished with the seventh seed.
The two teams met three times this season, with the Union winning the first at home followed by a pair of draws at Red Bull Arena.
“We have some interesting appearances the last few months, we have three times had the chance to win against Philly, and right now we have one more chance,” Red Bulls coach Gerhard Struber said. “We are always very, very close to bringing points home against Philly.”