After much anticipation, the day is finally here. The first matchup of the Hudson River Derby between New York City FC and the New York Red Bulls.
If recent performances are anyway indicators of how this game will go, then it should be an easy victory for the Red Bulls. They went on a seven game unbeaten streak to start the season, with four ties and three victories. They lost a hard fought battle last weekend to the New England Revolution 2-1. They’ve played an exciting brand of soccer, using pressure to attack their opposition. They’ve scored in every game this season, a total of 12 goals.
NYC on the other hand, has struggled mightily. They actually started off well, with a draw and a victory in their first two, but everything has gone downhill from there. They haven’t won a game since March 15 when playing the NE Revolution. Since then, they’ve lost five times and drawn twice. They’re struggling mightily to score, with only three goals in the last seven contests.
NYC’s defense also is nothing to brag about, and that could also cause mismatches. Goalie Josh Saunders has been good, with a 1.13 GAA and two shutouts to his name, but when facing the explosive Sounders offense a week ago, the team gave up three goals. Red Bulls former Golden Boot winner Bradley Wright-Phillips should prove to be a challenge. NYC was torched by the Seattle Sounders a week ago, and the Red Bulls could replicate that success.
On the other side, NYCFC’s attack has potential, but hasn’t been able to reach it. David Villa has been battling injuries this whole season, but is expected to start in today’s game. He was very active in 36 minutes of play last week against the Sounders, with 5 shots and 3 on target in 36 minutes of play. The Red Bulls defense anchored by Chris Duvall is stout though, giving up approximately 1 goal per game.
Overall, this should be the Red Bulls game to lose. They’ve never lost against an expansion team (5-0-5), and haven’t lost a game at home since October 13th. NYCFC also is winless in the road, and has scored just twice and four games away from Yankee Stadium.
Expect Sasha Kleijstan, Lloyd Sam, and Dax McCarty to control the midfield and take chances away from Mix Diskerud and Andrew Jacobson. This will tire out and eventually break down NYCFC’s defense, allowing super striker Bradley Wright Philips to take advantage. NYCFC put up a valiant fight, but they will fall short against a superior Red Bull side.
Projected Score- New York Red Bulls 2, New York City FC 1