While the Red Bulls play, NYCFC embraces extra practice

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by CHRISTIAN ARAOS

There are no rented spaces ahead of this weekend’s Hudson River Derby. No joint press conferences. No rushed travel. Just a week of practice for a New York City FC side who could not be any happier to remain in Purchase.

“We come in with a different week than we had when we played the [New York Red Bulls] a few weeks ago,” head coach Patrick Vieira said. “Physically, mentally we will be prepared and it will be a completely different game.”

NYCFC entered the May 21 match having played in Portland and Toronto in the prior six days while the Red Bulls played at D.C. hosted the Chicago Fire in the previous eight. This time, City gets eight days between matches while the Red Bulls will finish a stretch of five matches in 14 days.

Frank Lampard made his season debut the last time the two teams met. Booed that day, Lampard has responded with goals in consecutive matches. He said the extra time to practice allowed for the intensity to be raised.

“There’s controlled aggression and controlled ways of approaching games,” Lampard said. “Derbies bring a some extra to the table particularly when you had a big defeat recently.”

Lampard said the team is fit and gelling together. The Pigeons come into the Derby with wins in their last two matches in which Vieira fielded almost exactly the same lineup. Jefferson Mena replaced Jason Hernandez at center back in Saturday’s win against Seattle Sounders FC due to Hernandez’s suspension. Hernandez is expected to re-enter the lineup Sunday.

NYCFC have lost the first four Derbies with the Red Bulls by a 14-2 aggregate. David Villa has yet to score against the Red Bulls in those matches. Villa said playing the Red Bulls in a Derby does bring additional pressure.

“There is pressure in all soccer games,” Villa said, “not against Red Bulls, not against Seattle, not against Philadelphia—it’s all the games. I said after the last game, the most important thing was that we lost three points and the good thing is that the team reacted well after the result…Sunday we play for three points. It’s an important game not a definitive game but we need to win.”

Villa said losing Derbies hurts the fans but followed that a win Sunday would be good for the team to continue a string of ‘difficult victories’. By kickoff, the scenarios will be known but a win could move City to the top of the Eastern Conference and five points off the pace for Supporters’ Shield. A defeat could erase the gap between them and the red line to two points.

“The last result was a disaster for us but only for one day,” Villa said. “The team recovered very well and is playing very well and now we are second in the table. This is the most important thing. We learned about this game and we need to work differently so we don’t make the mistakes. But this is not a final, it’s not a definitive league game. It’s one game more and we need to win for three points but it’s the same impression as the other games.”

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  • Nostra Dumbass

    2-1
    RBNY

  • The rock

    Rb soda shouldn’t be worried about nycfc, they do have more fans and ownership support but they are an expansion team in a huge market.
    Too bad nycfc has a better future and once they get their stadium, red bull will become more New Jersey.
    Red bull soda should be worried about their owner giving them cents and all the dollar bills to Germany. As a matter of fact, the German league is not that tough and if red bull Germany spend money on good players, they could easily be top 4 and play champions all the time.
    Red bull needs an mls cup before nycfc get their stadium, and before cosmos comes knocking around their territory for stadium land.

    • William

      They are not getting their stadium for a long long time.

    • vic

      spewing ignorance A+

    • MTF

      The Red Bulls aren’t worried about NYCFC at all, in fact having them as a local rival has helped solidify their support. NYCFC will be lucky to have their own stadium within a decade. The Cosmos won’t be coming to New Jersey despite what you may have heard…they certainly won’t be playing in the Newark Bears’ old Riverfront Stadium. Everyone said the Red Bulls were doomed before last season with NYCFC and Villa and Lampard entering the league. So what happened? Red Bulls won a Shield and have beating their rivals four straight times. Red Bull has splashed plenty of money on their New York team…world class stadium, world class training facility, thriving academy. They don’t have to spend crazy amounts of money thanks to the MLS’ salary cap structure. Look at their results since Henry left with one of the lowest payrolls. You seem to think that the Red Bulls aren’t going after Carlos Vela, Zlatan, etc., because they are being starved by Papa Red Bull. No, they actually have a blueprint for the future of developing youth and smart moves.