Preview: New York Red Bulls v New York City FC


Staff Writer

The Red Bulls roll into the third Hudson Derby match on a hot 5-1-1 streak in league play.  Buoyed by two key signings during the MLS transfer window, New York looks to complete the season sweep of expansion New York City FC at what will be a sold-out Red Bull Arena.  However, City has significantly upgraded its own roster since the last time the teams met at Yankee Stadium in late June.

Can the Red Bulls continue their dominance over their cross-river rivals and prove that New York remains red in what may be the final derby match of 2015?


Match Information:

Sunday, August 9th at Red Bull Arena: 7:00p ET kickoff

TV/Streaming: Fox Sports 1/Fox Sports Go

Audio: Red Bulls Radio:

Referee: Ismail Elfath

Record, GF/GA, Division and League Position, Recent Form:

New York Red Bulls, 33 points from 20 matches, 33 GF/25 GA, 2nd in the East, t-6th in MLS, LWWWD

New York City FC, 24 points from 22 matches, 31 GF/34 GA, 8th in the East, t-17th in MLS, WDLWL

The Red Bulls’ front line vs. the City defense:
Bradley Wright-Phillips vs. Antoni Iraola, Jason Hernandez, Jefferson Mena, and Angelino (and Josh Saunders)

BWP (9G/6A) has scored three goals in two matches against City this season, and has three goals and an assist in his last four matches overall. Wright Phillips will face a completely different backline from the one the Red Bulls dropped three goals on back in June, and that’s a big reason New York City has conceded 11 goals over the club’s last four matches.  Throw in Pirlo’s lack of mobility, and opponents are finding success by popping longballs over the top and creating multiple breakaway opportunities per match. 33-year-old Spaniard Iraola hasn’t shown the speed to cover on the wing. Kemar Lawrence should be salivating at the opportunity he’ll have to overlap with Mike Grella.  Former Metro Hernandez is a known quantity. Colombian Mena will be making just his second start for City.  Angelino is just eighteen, and is on loan from City’s parent club, but has shown great promise at fullback. In three matches with NYC, the Spaniard has delivered two assists, and should give pause to Connor Lade at right back.

Advantage: Red Bulls

The NYCFC attack vs. the Red Bull defense:

David Villa vs. Kemar Lawrence, Damien Perrinelle, Young Matt Miazga, and Connor Lade (and Luis Robles)

David Villa has become the goal-scoring machine that City had hoped, with seven tallies over his last five matches, though against the Red Bulls, the Spanish legend has been de-fanged, with only one shot on frame in 158 total minutes over two derby matches.  Kemar Lawrence returned to the Red Bulls Wednesday in Montreal, and was at times New York’s most effective player. Perrinelle is back in the lineup on Sunday after his yellow card suspension. Young Matt Miazga, after his masterful performance in The Bronx, will once again be assigned to keeping a lid on Villa. Lade and Zizzo may once again share the work at right back. Robles is just ten wins from Tony Meola’s top all-time mark in club history, and will look to shut out City for the first time this year.

Advantage: Even

The Midfields:
Mike Grella, Felipe, Dax McCarty, Sacha Kljestan, and Lloyd Sam vs. Tommy McNamara, Ned Grabavoy, Frank Lampard, Andrea Pirlo, and Javier Calle

Despite a win and a draw in the last week, the Red Bulls’ midfield hasn’t been pumping on all cylinders.  Against both Philadelphia and Montreal, the midfield triangle gave the ball away with frustrating regularity.  Grella, who is surely looking over his shoulder at Shaun Wright-Phillips, picked up his fourth assist of the season in Wednesday’s match.  Felipe must in a similar situation with the arrival of Argentinian DP Gonzalo Veron, who will be available on Sunday night. McCarty was once again New York’s best player in Montreal midweek. With his next assist, the Ginger Ninja will match his career-high of six for a season, accomplished in 2007 with FC Dallas. Kljestan’s play left a lot to be desired north of the Border.  Sam became just the seventh player in team history with 15 goals and 15 assists after his tying tally at Saputo.  Even at 36, Andrea Pirlo gives City the best chance of victory this Sunday. With his devastating free kicks and his magnificent distribution, Pirlo makes everyone on his side more dangerous. Tommy McNamara (4G/2A) has benefited the most from Pirlo’s arrival, with two goals and an assist in his last two starts.  If in fact Frank Lampard is finally fully healthy, City’s offense could be deadly, but the lack of speed in the middle will create counter opportunities for the Red Bulls. Calle usually gives way to the nearly-forgotten Mix Diskerud in the second half.

Slight Advantage: NYCFC

The Coaches:
Both coaches in the Derby have the challenge of incorporating new, important pieces for the MLS stretch run. Jesse Marsch had the benefit of SWP’s month-long “training” stint before the English winger signed, making an easy transition into the club. Can he bring Veron along quickly?  Jason Kreis has contended with a complete reboot of his backline and midfield over the last month.  Fortunately for him, he’s been given upgrades across the board.  His key is finding the right spots for his DPs to operate without opening his back line to constant counterattacks.  One coach has been more successful, while the other benefits from his world-renowned stars.

Advantage: Even


The Red Bulls have outscored NYC 5-2 over the first two installments of the series. New York is 5-2-2 at home this season while NYC is 3-5-2 away from The Bronx.  The Red Bulls score 1.6 goals per home match, with City is racking up 1.1 goals per road contest. City’s last four matches have seen an explosion of 22 goals scored by the club and their opponents, but NYCFC is 1-2-1 in those games. The NYC supporters’ allotment has been reduced to only 500 after City supporters lit flares the last time the two teams played in Red Bull Arena.  Still, expect plenty of sky blue shirts in Harrison on Sunday. Weather for the sold-out match should be perfect, with 79-degree temperatures and mostly cloudy skies.

Advantage: Red Bulls

It’s hard to beat a team three times in one season, though Saunders, Villa, Diskerud, Grabavoy, and Hernandez may be the only NYC players to take part in all three matches versus the Red Bulls. Sunday may see the first time that City’s three DPs start a match, a match that the newcomers from The Bronx desperately want to win.  That hunger for revenge, along with what should be an amazing atmosphere should make Sunday terrific to watch.  City has the “stars,” and the Red Bulls have the “team.”  I think on Sunday night, the team edges out the stars 2-1, completing the season sweep for the Red Bulls.

  • send over the RFP

    NYC fan but RB are probably gonna win

    • Anonymous

      NYC will be good next year

  • slowleftarm

    Is Fat Frank going to turn up Sunday or does he have something better to do/some other club to play for?

    • send over the RFP

      no he finally seems to be fit

      • slowleftarm

        Excellent, I’m sure the South Ward will welcome him.

        • send over the RFP

          wouldn’t count on it, fans of one team normally don’t support players on the other team

          • Ken doll

            Sarcasm. Learn it,ok?

            • send over the RFP

              Why is this shittty conceit so popular on the internet now? Just say ‘learn sarcasm’, you’re not funny or different typing like that. Or to put it how you would understand it – unfunny. You are it.

        • trollleftarm

          Pointless garbage comment. Please refrain in the future.