On a beautiful Sunday afternoon, two fierce rivals contested a well-played game that ended with NYCFC grabbing their first victory against the New York Red Bulls. With the win, they move to the top of the East and improve their home record to 3-5-3. The game was an exciting one, and it had everything one could want in a breakthrough in the rivalry for the newer of the two New York teams.
With 33,613 fans in attendance, the Red Bulls started off trying to fiercely attack NYCFC and break through their defense, to try to start the scoring, but NYCFC was resolute. Frederic Brillant held the defense together, keeping the opposition from penetrating their ranks. This led to NYCFC generating offense and getting some shots on goal, with Tommy McNamara forcing a save from Robles in the 7th minute.
On the ensuing corner, the ball was crossed in by Pirlo out long to phenom Jack Harrison, who spectacularly flicked it over a defender before firing into the bottom right corner, just past Robles, for the first goal of the game and his second of the season.
The Red Bulls responded with energy, getting a corner in the 13th minute but NYCFC was able to hold off the attack. As chants of “blue” echoed around the stadium, the Red Bulls tried to pressure NYCFC into making mistakes, but never really threatened the back line of NYCFC. The Red Bulls offense could not find the passes they needed to create good shots, and there were always defenders in the way to clear or deflect incoming balls. In the 29th minute, Felipe got a yellow card for the Red Bulls, for a tackle in NYCFC’s box, taking the wind out of their attacking sails.
Tempers started to flare in the 31st minute with McNamara and Duvall shoving at each other after some rough tackling, but no cards were handed out. The intensity turned up after this, as fans were chanting “F*** the Red Bulls”, and in response, the visiting fans, from their upper deck seats shouted back, “Who’s your Daddy?”
The game went back and forth until halftime, with the Red Bulls keeping the majority of possession, but NYCFC responded by stringing some passes together and earning some corner kicks. David Villa forced a nice save in the 37th minute, but, after a yellow card for R.J Allen, the game remained 1-0 going into halftime.
In the 60th minute, the Red Bulls made their first substitution, with Lloyd Sam going on for Alex Muyl. NYCFC responded with a sub of their own, adding a fifth defender on their back line, putting in Ronald Matarrita for McNamara.
The best chance of the game for the Red Bulls came in the 63rd minute after a cross was just headed wide of the goal to the relief of NYCFC fans.
In the 66th minute, NYCFC got their second goal of the game after a great run down the right side from Harrison. Harrison drilled a cross into the box to David Villa who slotted it into the net to double the NYCFC lead. That was his first goal against the Red Bulls, and firs time NYCFC have scored 2 goals against their rivals.
Even with their constant pressure, NYCFC was stout and did not give an inch in defending, with a few counter attacks that almost resulted in a third goal. NYCFC’s defense looked better than it has in the past, from strong set piece defending, to smart clearances and deflections helping goalkeeper Josh Saunders keep a clean sheet in their third straight win.
Lampard was subbed off for Mikey Lopez in the 73rd minute for NYCFC, and Veron went on for Felipe for the Red Bulls. Just like the end of the first half, the Red Bulls kept high pressure on NYCFC, but there did not seem to be any worries, as all of their attempts were turned back, in a game that shows the potential of this team.
Bradley Wright-Phillips earned a yellow in the 77th minute, and was then subbed off for Abang.
Duvall earned a straight red card after a nasty foul on Andrea Pirlo, preventing a breakaway for NYCFC in the 78th minute, however Pirlo seemed to be unharmed after the incident. He was subbed off in the 83rd minute for Federico Bravo. After a yellow for Collin of the Red Bulls in the 90th minute, the game came to an end, with NYCFC completing a gem, making very few errors and looking like a completely different team than the one that lost 7-0 in May.
Coach Patrick Vieira commented, “I’m really pleased with the way we played today, as people were not expecting a reaction from us from the last game we played against them, and I’m really pleased because we were well-organized and determined and the team worked really well for each other.”
Frank Lampard remarked on how the team has been more consistent overall saying, “It’s been a difficult season at times and at times we’ve had some good wins but not complete consistency which has happened to contention for first, all of a sudden you see if you put three wins together where it can take you.”