HARRISON, NJ – New York City FC and “New York” Red Bulls kicked off the first leg of this year’s Hudson River Derby series on a sunny afternoon at Red Bull Arena. Here is your post-match analysis:
The first half saw some of the most inspired play this series has seen in it’s history, with outstanding individual performances from both sides of the Hudson. Utilizing the same formation that toppled the defending MLS Champions last week, Patrick Vieira put in his hard-nosed, pacey lineup against a Red Bulls side that was sure to push hard at home.
The first half saw standout performances from the likes of RJ Allen, Yangel Herrera and of course, Jack Harrison. The NYCFC star found the back of the net, putting the Boys in Blue up 1-0 after being denied just minutes earlier by Luis Robles. On a play begun by Rodney Wallace, Ben Sweat needled a through ball to Harrison’s feet and the second-year forward put it away with ease.
Not enough can be said, however, for the ball-winning ability of Herrera. The Manchester City loanee popped up all over the park – tackling, recovering loose balls and helping to stop the Red Bull attack before it began. The toughness shown by the combination of Allen, Herrera and Alex Ring – winning the 50/50 balls, forcing turnovers, and generally just imposing themselves on their opponents – the midfield trio set a different tone than the City faithful are used to seeing in derby matches.
Red Bulls do most of their scoring just before and just after the half, so it was imperative that NYCFC continue to press for an insurance goal. They would get it, and from the unlikely head of Ben Sweat. On a restart, Alex Ring lofted the ball from just after the circle. Sweat seemed to be trying to find Tommy McNamara, who was trailing from outside the box, but his ball just kept tailing until it fell into the net for City’s second goal.
Despite beginning the match with only a single Designated Player in their eleven, New York City comes out of the match on their longest win streak of the season (3), improve their record against the Red Bulls to 2-6, and nab their first points at Red Bull Arena in club history.
NYCFC will return home to take on expansion side Minnesota United this Thursday at 7:30.