The New York Red Bulls started slow, but finished strong against New York City FC in the first Hudson River Derby of 2019.
Daniel Royer scored a brace, leading the Red Bulls to an important win. Chris Armas elected to leave designated player Kaku on the bench to start the match, a move that drew the ire of Red Bull fans. Ultimately, the move proved non-lethal as the Red Bulls struggled towards a 2-1 victory.
NYCFC entered the match on short rest, coming off two straight losses including a 120 minute US Open Cup ouster against Orlando City. Both teams started the year on the bottom of the table, but have experienced a midseason revival of sorts. That set up this newest chapter of red versus blue.
The blue team struck first. In the 8th minute, Maxi Moralez found Anton Tinnerholm alone on the right wing. Tinnerholm sent a low cross through the 18-yard box. Héber streaked into the box and cleaned up the cross off the underside of the crossbar and in. The early goal came against the run of play, unnerving the home fans and team.
The Citizens took control of the first half following the goal. Often the Red Bulls found themselves pinned into their own half, and struggled to maintain possession. City attempted to spread out the Red Bulls, and waste time wherever they could. The approach backfired during first half stoppage time.
Brian White ran onto a long ball in the box. Maxine Chanot attempted to clear the ball, but instead kicked White, drawing a penalty kick. Daniel Royer stepped up to the spot, and fired his attempt past Sean Johnson, leveling the match just before halftime. The goal gave the Red Bulls a lifeline heading into the second half.
Daniel Royer doubled his tally after the break. Following a throw in, Marc Rzatkowski sent a pass to the top of the box to Cristián Casseres Jr. Casseres sent in a first time cross into the box, finding the head of Royer. Royer gently redirected the header to the far post, beating an outstretched Sean Johnson to give the Red Bulls the lead in the 60th minute.
City complained following the goal. The assistant referee initially signaled for a corner kick. The Red Bulls threw the ball in instead. Despite the blue protests, the goal was allowed to stand.
The hotly contested winner led to a furious finale. Both teams fought hard, showing emotion lacking earlier in the match. NYCFC showed the miles on their tired legs, and despite a strong effort, couldn’t find an equalizer.
The Red Bulls improve to 9-7-4 following the win against NYCFC. Next up, they travel north to face Toronto FC on July 17th.
Photo by Bill Twomey Photography