Major League Soccer

New York City FC-Union Preview

New York City FC have no plans to sell striker Valentin Castellanos, according to head coach Ronny Deila.

Reports have emerged recently linking Copa Libertadores champions Palmeiras with a move for Castellanos, who has already netted twice this season after scoring seven times in 2020.

But ahead of a high-profile clash with Philadelphia Union, Deila insists Castellanos is firmly in his plans.

"We are not intending to sell him," Deila told Glenn Crooks. "It's of course about two reasons. That is one, we want to keep him. He is so important for our team. He developed a lot the last year and now he's a key guy for us up front. It doesn't help either that we only have one striker right now when Heber is out.

"So everybody understands that that's going to be very, very hard to let him go. We want to keep him here for many years and keep on developing him and hopefully he can be a top scorer in MLS (like) already this year. I'm very happy that we are going to keep him here.

"Of course everybody has dreams, and Taty I'm sure also has a dream of playing in even bigger clubs. But that's not now. He needs to stay here and achieve something with us first."

One South American who will not be featuring on Saturday is Ilsinho, who has sustained a groin tear.

Jim Curtin said: "He was crushed after the game, upset and emotional and apologized to me like he's letting the team down but that is never the case with Ilsinho. He is still a huge part of what this club is, such a great player and we are such a better team when we have him with us."

Philadelphia Union - Jamiro Montero

Jamiro Montero has scored four goals in his last eight regular season matches, including the Union's lone MLS goal this season. Montero had scored just four goals in his first 42 MLS appearances prior to this run.

New York City FC - Valentin Castellanos

As Deila stressed, should Castellanos have his sights on a big move away from MLS, then there is only one way to go about it. With Herber out injured, the emphasis is on the 22-year-old to lead NYCFC's line for the time being.

-NYCF's 5-0 win over FC Cincinnati on Saturday was the fifth time in the last 13 matches that NYCFC has scored four or more goals. They had scored four or more goals just once in their previous 26 matches (including MLS is Back) dating back to August 2019.

-All five of NYCFC's goals against FC Cincinnati last week were on set pieces, including three off corner kicks. NYCFC scored 11 set-piece goals all of last regular season, including six on corners.

-After winning all nine of their home matches in the regular season last year, Philadelphia has lost two straight at Subaru Park.

-The Union have not lost three straight home matches since April-June 2012, the only three-match home losing streak in the club's MLS history.

-Philadelphia won their lone meeting with New York City FC last season, a 1-0 victory at MLS is Back in July. It was just Philadelphia's fourth win over NYCFC (D1 L8) in MLS, and just the second in the last nine meetings (L7).

Updated April 30, 2021

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