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Keys to the Match: Embrace the Moment

December 3, 2021 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - New York City FC News Release

New York City FC continue their push towards MLS Cup with an Eastern Conference Final game against Philadelphia Union on Sunday.

Here's the Keys to the Match, presented by Tri-State Ford...

Step Up

It still feels like the emotions of Tuesday are settling, with the playoff win against New England Revolution one that will live in the memory forever.

One of the many consequences of that game sees New York City FC without Taty Castellanos on Sunday against Philadelphia Union. Thankfully, NYCFC is blessed with a deep squad, and that will likely see one of Héber, Talles Magno, or even Ismael Tajouri-Shradi step in to fill the striker role.

Castellanos has enjoyed a tremendous 2021 campaign, culminating in the Golden Boot award and selection in Major League Soccer's Best XI. Ronny Deila's options in attack are varied and offer nuanced differences depending on the strategy he chooses to implement.

It is vital that whoever he picks seizes the moment. Castellanos' role is primarily to score goals, but he also offers his team a more direct out ball when required, and brings teammates into play.

This is a group littered with strong characters, and Sunday will give the chosen player the chance to rise to the occasion and push the Boys in Blue towards their first ever MLS Cup final.

Familiar Faces

NYCFC faced Philadelphia Union three times in the Regular Season and it produced an interesting trio of games.

In the first, NYCFC emerged victorious, starting fast and utilizing overloads down the right to stretch Philadelphia's diamond formation.

The second clash saw Philly emerge 1-0 winners, before an enthralling 1-1 draw at Yankee Stadium closed out the campaign. Ronny Deila and his staff know what is awaiting them at Subaru Park, and they've already seen first hand what strategy can cause the Union problems.

Attacking the game with intensity from the off and stretching the pitch were central themes to the NYCFC's success against Philly this season, and that will be another important factor on Sunday. Just like with New England, the Boys in Blue know how to hurt their opposition, and it's about exacting that plan emphatically during the 90 minutes.

Embrace The Moment

New York City FC have already made history this season by overcoming New England Revolution to reach the Eastern Conference Final.

The run that started with a home win against Atlanta United could still finish at Yankee Stadium if the Boys in Blue can win on Sunday and the result goes their way on Saturday. Pushing forward into new ground is exciting, and while it could also be nerve-wracking, these are the moments as fans we pray for, and the players and staff work for.

Sunday's game will be a fantastic occasion, and a chance to make more great memories as part of this team and this family.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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