In One Game, A Rivalry Is Born Between NYC FC and NY Red Bulls
The Red Bulls stand at 4-1-4 and remain unbeaten at home.
They say they can’t create a rivalry from scratch. From the crescendo of 25,217 passionate voices here in Red Bull Park felt otherwise. The fans of the New York Red Bulls are aware that there is another New York team encroaching on its territory. If not literally it was understood by Red Bull players that this derby result was crucial as far as perception in the eyes of New York soccer watchers.
The Red Bulls struck first, four minutes in, when Lloyd Sam, who was a thorn in the City side throughout the night dug out a 50-50 ball in the shadow of the left post before lifting it to the center of the box where Wright-Phillips caught it and smashed it with a right foot that felt like a fist to the face of the New York City Football club.
From the Red Bull support section who taunted the Third Rail from across the pitch to the unveiling of a large sheet showing a large smurf in NYC colors title Manchester City lite and claiming twenty years too late and a stadium short. It was a clever rebuke.
“This felt different,” Red Bulls captain Dax McCarthy said. “It was one of the best atmospheres I’ve ever seen at Red Bull Arena.”
But NYC was determined to strike back. David Villa on his first touches was NYCFC best threat as all attacks were filtered through him. Alvarez had his moments but NYC could not get the ball on net, a season long flaw.
“It just seems that this momentum against us is such a headwind,” said midfielder Ned Grabavoy. “We’re trying everything we can to break out of this.”
Things got heated 19 minutes in though when he was fouled by Matt Mizga who drew the first of his two yellows. On the free direct kick Villa received and found the net, but was disallowed for off side. This was the watermark for the visiting rival.
The lack of a sniper and an out of form Mix Diskerud put extreme pressure on Josh Saunders in goal. But he was up to the task.
“I thought Mix was just not great tonight,” Kreis said.
The defense held its own making play after play to keep it a one goal game. But in the open field the script was going as written as the Red Bulls had three quick striking threats that consistently threatened the slower defenders of NYC who often marked slowly and covered territory slower. But amazingly it was only 1-0 Red Bulls at the half.
Then providence was bestowed upon the city invaders when on a counter with Shelton cut down by Miazga and was ushered out 36 minutes in and the Red Bulls fans were tempered for the first time with the sobering thought that they would be a man down for the duration.
But the Red Bulls did not play like they were a man down. Even when Lawrence was yellow carded and the possibility of getting another defender off the field, NYCFC made a few clumsy probes for an equalizer. The Red Bulls, shorthanded for an hour outshot NYC 14-10.
The game turned for good in the 52nd minute when Lloyd Sam broke out again in the opening moments of the second half and crossed to Sacha Kljestan who fed Wright-Phillips whose tally made it 2-0 NYRB. That took the air out the city balloon.
Josh Saunders saved a third from Phillips later when he released from midfield and was one on one with Saunders, who made a world class save to keep it from being a laugher. The New York City players, now without Villa, who was replaced by Mullins, finally caught a break as he hit a rocket from a low pass to cut the deficit to 2-1 at minute 76.
RJ Allen, acquired two weeks back assisted on the goal and had two decent chances for a tie and provided the only real pressure in the waning moments. Luis Robles, Red Bull goalie was on all day and only was vulnerable on rebounds where NYC players floundered all game long. New York City falls to 1-6-3. The Red Bulls stand at 4-1-4 and remain unbeaten at home. But for sure we now have a rivalry…and a derby.
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