Philadelphia vs New York Red Bulls preview: How to watch, team news, predicted lineups and ones to watch
Photo: Drew Hollowell/Getty Images

The opening match of the 2021 MLS Cup playoffs will see bitter rivals battle it out when the Philadelphia Union host the New York Red Bulls at Subaru Park.

Philadelphia clinched the second seed in the Eastern Conference on the final day of the season while New York earned 25 points in their last 12 matches to secure their 12th straight playoff spot.

Team news

Philadelphia's only absentee is forward Sergio Santos, who is nursing a quad injury.

The Red Bulls will once again be without defender Aaron Long, missing through an Achilles injury he suffered in Philadelphia earlier in the season. Omir Fernandez is questionable with a hamstring injury.

Predicted lineups

Philadelphia: Blake; Elliott, Wagner, Glesnes, Mbaizo; Flach, Bedoya, Martinez; Gazdag; Monteiro, Przybylko

New York Red Bulls: Coronel; Reyes, Nealis, Edwards; Gutman, Davis, Yearwood, Duncan; Carmona, Klimala, Casseres Jr.

Ones to watch

Andre Blake (Philadelphia)

Led by the reigning MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, the Union allowed the third-fewest amount of open-play expected goals across the league. The Philadelphia defense has been even more stingy at Subaru Park with opposing offenses held without a goal for the last 393 minutes and recorded 12 shutouts.

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Sean Davis (New York Red Bulls)

The midfielder finished the year in the top ten of many statistical categories in MLS. He finished first in possession won (329), distance covered (386 km), recoveries (329), tied for fourth in tackles won (54), and tenth in interceptions (57).

He became the third Red Bulls outfield player to play every minute of every game during a single season alongside Tim Ream (2010) and Steve Jolley (2001). This will be his tenth career playoff appearance, which would be tied for first among active New York players.

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Previous meetings

This is the fourth matchup of the year with Philadelphia claiming victory in one and the other two ending in draws.

Cory Burke scored in just the ninth-minute to give the Union a 1-0 victory over a ten-man Red Bulls side in May.

Klimala put New York in front with a penalty on the hour mark before Santos leveled with five minutes to play in the teams' July encounter.

Santos again scored against the Red Bulls in September only to watch Fernandez spare New York's blushes with a 37th-minute equalizer.

How to watch

English-language coverage will be provided in the home markets of both teams. PHL17 will broadcast the action in Philadelphia while MSG + will carry the coverage in New York.

Spanish-language coverage is available on UniMas and TUDN with kickoff set for 2:30pm Eastern time.