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New York City FC travel to Subaru Park on Wednesday night to take on Philadelphia Union

Here’s the Keys to the Match, presented by Tri-State Ford…

Switch It Up

Jim Curtin has been largely consistent when it comes to his choice of tactical set-up with the Philadelphia Union in 2021. This season, the 42-year-old has produced a 4-3-1-2 formation that utilizes a diamond in midfield.

Interestingly, he diverted from that last time out in MLS against the New England Revolution, switching to a 3-4-3 formation. That shift was largely influenced by the fact Curtin rested a number of key starters in anticipation of the Union’s CONCACAF Champions League tie against Club América.

“We trained it, I’d say, two and a half days and gave the guys some basic ideas and some basic principles, and they really took the information well,” Curtin said. “There’s still little things we can improve, but it certainly gives us now something in the back pocket. … We learned a little bit more about our group.”

It’s unclear whether Curtin will revert to his preferred 4-3-1-2 formation for the visit of New York City FC, but one of the benefits of Ronny Deila’s system is its in-game flexibility. The NYCFC Head Coach implemented a similar change mid-game against Chicago Fire, and that could prove a useful tool against the Union, as they try to keep NYCFC guessing.

A Big Week Begins

NYCFC are halfway through what has been a busy month, and things aren’t slowing down anytime soon.

A trip to face Philadelphia kicks off a big seven days that finishes with the Hudson River Derby. Ronny Deila won’t allow his players to be distracted by the prospect of the game at the weekend, and that starts with a convincing performance against the Union.

The Norwegian has stressed throughout this season that he is keen for a high standard of intensity and commitment within the squad and during training. As several players have explained that has kept things fresh and motivated them to improve as they battle for a starting place.

The motivation to focus on Wednesday is obvious, and a big win would be the perfect momentum to take into the weekend.

Rinse and Repeat

The last time NYCFC faced the Union they emerged victorious and it was largely down to an incredibly fast start.

Jesús Medina gave NYCFC a lead after five minutes, and they kept their foot on the gas. The dismissal of José Martinez after 16 minutes aided that cause, but it was the start that caught the Union off guard and pushed NYCFC towards a victory.

A similar repeat on Wednesday will be the ideal foundation towards securing another big three points and will reinforce a key threat this team has.