In what promises to be a fun mid-week 6-pointer, the latest installment of the Hudson River Derby, New York City FC face-off against their cross-river rivals at Yankee Stadium in front of a nationally televised audience. The Pale Blue squad has yet to taste defeat at home, setting the stage nicely as Chris Armas returns to the place where he suffered his first loss as head coach.
Preview: Hudson River Derby Finale
In Vancouver on Saturday, Daniel Royer smashed in his second brace in three games. The brace included a 90th-minute equalizer, a volley to lift the 10-man New York Red Bulls to a 2-2 draw against the Whitecaps. Royer’s equalizer came six minutes after the dismissal of Michael Murillo for a second bookable offense.
After the match, Royer spoke to reporters about the teams’ resolve and finding a way to bounce back after being down a score.
“I think it was really important to bounce back and at least get a point out of this game,” Royer said. “I think we’ve been the better team today, I think we controlled most parts of the game. I think more was possible but it was still great to bounce back late in the game.”
Defender Tim Parker, who made his return to Vancouver after spending three seasons with the club, felt battling back and finding a way to steal a point on the road, rather than leaving without any, was the silver lining of tonight’s match.
“To get a point in the last few minutes like we did is very important for how our season is going to play out,” Parker said. “We’re in the Supporters’ Shield race, and getting a point here instead of walking out without anything is big.”
Back to the Bronx
The last time these two teams met was back in July when Chris Armas was newly appointed the head coach of the Red Bulls after Jesse Marsch departed for greener pastures over in Leipzig. NYCFC won the match, no thanks in part to an errant backpass from Tyler Adams to Aaron Long, who lost the ball at the top of the box, Maxi Morales quickly picked it up, and scored the lone goal and thus Armas’ tenure as head coach began with a 1:0 loss.
Since then, the Red Bulls’ record under Armas is 5-1-1, good enough to sit in second of the Eastern Conference and in the race for the Supporters Shield, just three points behind Atlanta United.
New York is the second match of a brutal schedule after flying in from Vancouver on Saturday. After battling NYCFC tomorrow night, they head home to face long-time nemesis D.C United on Sunday, host Houston on Wednesday, head off to Montreal on Saturday. If your counting, that’s five matches in fifteen days. That means roster rotation will be a must to try to keep up with Atlanta and stay ahead of the teams charging hard for playoff position behind them.
Players to Watch:
With Daniel Royer scoring a brace in Vancouver can only bode well for the Austrian as he has seemed to regain his scoring touch at the right time. His recent exploits have earned him a spot of the MLS Team of the Week. The Red Bulls need his goal output to give the NYCFC defense all they can handle.
Alejandro Romero “Kaku” Gamarra
Playing in the narrow and crowded confines of the pitch at Yankee Stadium is no small feat. It’s a serious traffic jam as attackers and defenders are slamming into you head on for control of the ball. This is where the man known as Kaku must excel if New York is to have any chance for a victory by linking up with his scoring partners, Bradley Wright-Phillips and Daniel Royer. Speaking of which…
The man who’s already a club legend has scored eight goals against NYCFC, more than any player on the roster. Should the Red Bulls come out winners, you can bet that he will have a hand in it, and his name in the scoresheet. NYCFC’s formidable defense will work hard to make certain that he above all else, that pivotal role will be neutralized.
As stated before, this match is a huge one if the Red Bulls have any thoughts of claiming the Supporters Shield and with it, the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. With the schedule not being kind to them, walking away with a point would suffice, but gaining all three would be crucial rather than leaving the Bronx with yet another loss. Kickoff starts at 7:00pm Wednesday, July 22 on FS1 and streamed on FOX Sports GO.
Photo by Bill Twomey Photography