Jack Harrison and David Villa tallied goals to help New York City F.C. topple the New York Red Bulls at Yankee Stadium on Sunday.“Proud” was the word NYCFC head Coach Patrick Vieira used to describe his feelings towards his club, and their performance as they continued their winning ways in the second Hudson River Derby of the season.
It was Military Appreciation Day at Yankee Stadium as NYCFC took the pitch hoping to bounce back and respond after losing to the New York Red Bulls 0-7 the last time they faced them at home. The rivalry took on a new look as New York City showed they could compete, and proved they had the heart to succeed.
As the away support for the Red Bulls could be heard chiding NYCFC fans, and players by chanting, “we want 8, we want 8” it would be NYC’s rookie Jack Harrison who netted the first goal coincidentally in the 8th minute.
The goal came off of a corner kick, from Andrea Pirlo who found Harrison near the back post. The young rookie took control, and chipped a clever ball past two Red Bulls defenders earning space to put a one touch rocket past keeper Luis Robles.
The Stadium was truly rocking as City seemed to show a different attitude early in the match.
Another Look: @Harrison_Jack11's opening goal to give #NYCFC the lead pic.twitter.com/hHkT26xSo7
— New York City FC (@NYCFC) July 3, 2016
Coach Vieira talked about the change in his team after the game, “We had a week to prepare for the game, and we were a completely different New York City… Mentally, and Physically we were prepared to play a derby game, which wasn’t the case when we played the first game.”
The proof of his statement was clearly present in the defensive performance of the midfield and the back line.
Jefferson Mena whose appearances for NYCFC have been rare, and spotty at best, truly stepped up in this play. It was his strongest performance since signing with the team midway through last season.
Coach Vieira said of Mena, “I’m really pleased with Mena because he went through a very difficult period… tonight i thought he was fantastic, and if he keeps working like he has the last few weeks in training there’s no reason why I’d have to take him out.”
Despite going through difficult periods without possession of the ball, City was able to prevent the Red Bulls from creating solid scoring opportunities throughout.
Harrison was not done contributing to the win. City broke out a crisp counter attack lead by Frank Lampard who found Harrison streaking open down the right side of the pitch. Harrison then quickly crossed the ball to captain David Villa for a tap in off his right foot in the 66th minute.
Frank Lampard said of Harrison after the the match, “He’s got great ability, natural ability on the ball, some players just know when to pass when to dribble, and have the ability to skip past people, on top of that he’s got a lot of humility, as a kid… He’s a real weapon for us.”
As the match continued the pressure, and attack of the Red Bulls seemed fall off. Substitutions for NYCFC in the 62nd, 73rd, and 83rd minutes allowed for NYC to take on a more defensive look.
Throughout the match the players looked as hungry as the fans to solidify the win as Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch alluded to after the match, “They wanted it more, they showed that on the field… they changed certain things on the field in how they defended to make it harder for us… credit to New York City, they wanted it bad.”
Despite the aggression of the New York Red Bulls they seemed to be feeling the short week between matches and could not respond to New York City’s defense.
FT: #NYCFC 2-0 RB@Guaje7Villa and @Harrison_Jack11 score, and Saunders earns the clean sheet #NYISBLUE pic.twitter.com/FUXAiF25Gf
— New York City FC (@NYCFC) July 3, 2016
NYC keeper Josh Saunders also had a strong match throughout racking up a clean sheet, as the game was not a completely easy one for him. With the support of the team’s defense, Saunders fended off 10 corner kicks, while making 3 saves. The home crowd celebrated heartily in the waning minutes of the match as the Away Support sat in silence watching their team fall for the first time in the Hudson River Derby.
New York City F.C. now sit atop the Eastern Conference with 27 points ahead of The Philadelphia Union (26), and The Montreal Impact (24). City faces a 4 game road trip in the in the Month of July with their next match against the New England Revolution, Wednesday July 6th in Foxborough Massachusetts.
Kickoff for that matchup is 7:30pm with broadcasts available on Fox Sports Go, MLS Live, and CSN-NE.