New York City FC and Philadelphia Union face-off in Group A (Eastern Conference), which also includes Orlando City SC, Inter Miami CF, Nashville FC and the Chicago Fire.
New York City FC team news & predicted line-up
Head Coach Ronny Delia will be hoping to use the MLS Is Back Tournament to kick-start NYCFC’s 2020 campaign. Before the league’s suspension, Delia’s side suffered defeats against both Columbus Crew and Toronto FC.
However, NYCFC should not be deterred by those results. The Cityzens remain one of the strongest prospects for the tournament and will be expecting to progress from Group A without too much difficulty.
In the Philadelphia Union, NYCFC face potentially their toughest group stage challenge. However, New York have won each of the last four MLS encounters between the two sides and will be hoping to secure all three points.
Ahead of the second game of the MLS Is Back Tournament, NYCFC have injury doubts over defender Sebastien Ibeagha and midfielder Tony Rocha. However, center back Maxime Chanot is available after serving a one-game suspension.
Predicted line-up (4-2-3-1): Sean Johnson – Ronald Matarrita, Alexander Callens, Maxime Chanot, Anton Tinnerholm – Keaton Parks, Alexander Ring – Alexandru Mitrita, Maxi Moralez, Jesus Medina – Heber
Philadelphia Union team news & predicted line-up
The final MLS game before the league suspension saw the Union and LAFC produce a thrilling 3-3 draw. This well-earned point remains the only one that Philadelphia have on the board heading into the MLS Is Back Tournament. In their opening game of the season, ‘The U’ suffered defeat against FC Dallas.
Philadelphia may be without forwards Sergio Santos and Andrew Wooten for their tournament opener. However, Head Coach Jim Curtin should be able to welcome back key defender Kai Wagner.
Predicted line-up (4-2-3-1): Andre Blake – Kai Wagner, Mark McKenzie, Jakob Glesnes, Raymon Gaddis – Warren Greaville, Jose Martinez – Jamiro Monteiro, Brenden Aaronson, Alejandro Bedoya – Kacper Przybylko
Players to watch
Kacper Przybylko (Philadelphia Union). If Sergio Santos’ injury keeps the Brazilian out of the starting XI, then the main offensive threat needs to come from Przybylko. The 27-year-old forward scored 15 goals in 28 appearances in 2019.
Maxi Moralez (NYCFC). Moralez is coming off a career-high 22 assists in 2019, and will be NYCFC’s main man yet again. If The Cityzens are to rise to expectations in The MLS Is Back Tournament, then Moralez will be vital.