Keys to the Match | Rotation 


New York City FC are back on the road as they take on the Philadelphia Union.

The Boys in Blue return to action in a 7:30pm ET kick-off at Subaru Park.

Here are the Keys to the Match, presented by Ford…


Nick Cushing revealed last week he will need to rotate his squad this week to accommodate a busy week involving three games.

As part of those changes, Cushing did not rule out the idea of tweaking the team’s system to accommodate different players. New York City have operated with a back three and a back four under Cushing this season.

Both systems offer different tactical benefits, with City’s squad also offering different options in terms of player profile and skillset. Philly typically operate with a 4-4-2 diamond formation, a hallmark of Jim Curtin’s tactical approach.

Typically, the best way to cause that system problems is to stretch the pitch wide and move the ball down the wings. This can help create overloads down the flanks while also stretching the diamond midfield.

Orlando City did just that when they visited Chester, Pennsylvania this past weekend - switching their formation to a 3-5-2 with wingbacks that held the width. That ultimately saw the Lions take all three points on the night thanks to a 3-2 score line.

Nick Cushing and his staff will have put significant time and energy into their preparation for Philly, knowing that both freshness and form must be balanced to find the best solution.


New York City FC and the Philadelphia Union have met 22 times in MLS.

Of those meetings, twelve have occurred at Subaru Park, with New York City boasting a solid record of five wins compared to Philly’s seven. The first occurred back in 2015, with a brilliant curling effort from Tommy McNamara drawing City level before Patrick Mullins provided the game-winner in the 87th minute.

Arguably the Club’s finest win in Philly came in 2021 when they won the Eastern Conference. That 2-1 result gave City a shot at MLS Cup in Portland – that story having a happy ending from a New York perspective.

Interestingly, the two teams have never produced a draw at Subaru Park. Despite that, City can certainly take confidence from their past results in Philly, along with the fact their hosts are currently enduring poor home form.

Philly have lost their last three home games in a row, with the team having never lost four home games in a row.


City’s win in Toronto wasn’t just a great achievement, but also a blueprint for the challenges that road games often present.

The Boys in Blue started the game under some pressure but emerged from that to take the lead from the penalty spot.

That pattern repeated itself throughout the evening with City consistently able to wrestle back control of the game before punishing their opponents.

Having not only endured that type of game but thrived in it City are well prepared for Wednesday's clash with Philadelphia Union. The hosts will be eager to start the game well given their current home form, and it is important City deal with that in the right way.

Regardless, Wednesday is the perfect opportunity for City to build on Saturday's win and carry more momentum into the end of the week and the game against Red Bulls.

For the City - Stories

Join us on our mission to empower NYC youth through soccer.