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New York is Red Again: Red Bulls run riot against NYCFC in the Hudson River Rivalry 4-0

Harrison, NJ- If there was any emotion higher than tension at Red Bull Arena Saturday afternoon, it was anticipation.  The hosting New York Red Bulls had four wins in their first seven MLS matches and had made the semi-finals of the CONCACAF Champions League. The visitors, NYCFC, came into the weekend with the league’s best record with 6 victories and 20 points through their first nine games.  This should have been a clash of two favorites in the Eastern Conference. What occurred was one of the most one-sided Hudson River Rivalry matches in the history of the series as the Red Bulls cruised to a 4-0 victory over their Bronx based opponents.

Jesse Marsch’s men got off to an explosive start when Designated Player Alejandro “Kaku” Romero-Gamarra from Argentina, slotted home a rebound by City goalkeeper Sean Johnson. Just two minutes later the Red Bulls doubled the lead when Kaku got involved again, this time feeding midfielder Florian Valot whose shot took a heavy deflection over the helpless City keeper to make it 2-0.

After the initial flurry in the first 5 minutes, NYRB continued the pressure with their signature high press attack, getting several chances in the final third during the first half.  The home side almost made it 3-0 32 minutes in after a deflection left the Red Bull’s all time leading scorer Bradley Wright-Phillips all alone in front of goal only to be denied by USMNT goalkeeper Johnson who parried it just wide.  Wright-Phillips would atone for his miss just 3 minutes later however as he headed in a cross from Kaku, marking the 11th time he had scored in the Hudson River Rivalry in 10 total meetings in the MLS regular season.  NYCFC struggled to gain a foothold through a majority of the first half, getting their first chance on a wild shot by Herrera in the 31st minute that deflected well wide of goal. The only significant chance for the visitors in the first half came during stoppage time when the ball fell to the feet of Norwegian international Jo Inge Berget, but his low shot was palmed away by Red Bulls keeper Luis Robles just before the whistle sounded for halftime.

After the match, NYCFC manager Patrick Vieira stated bluntly that what his team produced in terms of effort in the first half was unacceptable.  “If I could have changed all 10 players at half time, I would have” the City boss said postgame.

While making that many subs within any soccer match is clearly impossible, Vieira tried to shake things up making a double substitution to try to outnumber the Red Bulls in the midfield to change the momentum.  The change of tactics almost had an immediate impact with Medina missing a glorious headed chance from a David Villa cross.  Despite this the back line of the hosts held strong and the Red Bulls midfielders continued their high-pressure attack which shut down the visitors for most of the game despite City owning 61.1% of the possession.

By the 66th minute, despite plenty of time left to play at attempt a comeback, NYCFC manager Patrick Vieira surprisingly subbed off star striker David Villa, replacing him with Rodney Wallace.  Yet the move meant to galvanize the City players to attack and move forward had very little effect on the determined home side.  The Red Bulls sealed the match in the 79th minute when substitute Derrick Etienne Jr. circled Johnson and slotted home the home sides forth goal and his first at Red Bull Arena.

Following the match, NYRB’s manager Jesse Marsch had high praise for his entire squad especially his midfielders who shut down the powerful forces in NYCFC’s attack David Villa and Maxi Morales.  But the Red Bulls boss now in his forth season had the highest praise for his back line of Kemar Lawrence, Tim Parker, Aaron Long and Michael Murillo who he called “the best backline we’ve ever had”.  But Marsch was still very much focused on the few mistakes that his side made Saturday afternoon and the potential that this particular group of players are capable of as they look forward to a road test against the Colorado Rapids next weekend.

“Great job, but we still have a long way to go before we can be the team I know we can be.”

While Saturday may not have been a 7-0 win, the dominance by the New York Red Bulls made one thing perfectly clear. New York, until July 8th at least, is unquestionably red.


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