Connect with us

Brotherly Game

Four questions with Matt Mangam of Hudson River Blue



Fresh off one point in four games, the Philadelphia Union will be home at Subaru Park to take on rival New York City FC on Wednesday night. After dropping their last three matches in Chester, Pa., the Union will try to get right against the fifth-best team in the Eastern Conference.
To preview the Union’s next opponent, we spoke with Matt Mangam of (former) sister site Hudson River Blue.
Philadelphia Soccer Now: New York City’s hanging with the middle of the playoff pack, sitting at 1.42 points per game. How would you sum up NYC’s season to this point?
Matt Mangam: NYCFC started off the season very poorly, but after a successful five-game homestand that saw the team win three straight matches, New York is in a much better position now than it was in March. NYCFC just won their first away game of the season last weekend against Toronto as well, so the fans are pretty pleased at the moment. After missing the playoffs last season for the first time since the team’s inaugural season, it is really important that NYCFC bounces back to making the postseason and finishing in the top half of the Eastern Conference.
PSN: MLS fans got used to seeing Talles Magno be a dangerous attacker for City last season, but he’s made just one appearance this season. What’s happened there and what is NYC doing without him?
MM: Talles Magno suffered an ankle injury after the first week of the season, which is why he’s only made one appearance. He is back now, though, and I actually asked Nick Cushing why we didn’t see him play against Colorado about eight days ago. He told me it’s because he is still getting back to full fitness. With NYCFC expecting to rotate several players this week against Philadelphia, he could very well start or come off the bench on Wednesday. NYCFC wasn’t really affected by his injury, the team has so many wingers who have impacted the team this season such as Hannes Wolf, Agustín Ojeda, and Julián Fernández.
PSN: Former Union backup goalkeeper Matt Freese has started all 12 games for New York City — how’s the Wayna, Pa., native looked?
MM: Matt Freese has been exceptional, there are really no words to describe how great he’s been for NYCFC. He’s coming off a career-high nine save performance against Toronto. I say this with 100% certainty, there is not one NYCFC fan who has anything negative to say about Freese. If he keeps up his amazing form, he could very well be MLS Goalkeeper of the Season.
PSN: Will NYCFC have any notable absences on Wednesday? What’s your lineup prediction?
MM: There aren’t really any notable absences. With that being said, it is sort of hard to predict a lineup given the fact there will be a few rotations but I will give it my best shot. NYCFC will play a 4-2-3-1 formation with Freese (GK), O’Toole (LB), Risa, (LCB), Thiago Martins (RCB) and Ilenič (RB). In the midfield, it’ll be Parks (LCM) and Sands (RCM). Ojeda (LM), Rodríguez (CAM) and Wolf (RM). Bakrar at striker. I can also see Perea starting over Parks, and someone like Magno or Fernández starting as well.

Joe is a junior at Penn State studying journalism and sports studies, among other things. He's covered the Union since 2017 and has written for Brotherly Game / Philadelphia Soccer Now since 2019. He seeks to answer life's greatest questions, such as, "How did I get here?" and "Where is that large automobile?" You can find Joe on Twitter (iamjoelister) or via email (

Copyright © 2024 Philadelphia Soccer Now and Brotherly Game

Be the First to Know When Philadelphia Soccer News Happens!

Sign-up now to get all of our stories sent directly to your inbox, as soon as they're published.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.