Calling New York City FC’s win over the Red Bulls Sunday a big win, is one of the largest understatements of all-time.Four-hundred and twenty-seven days.
That’s how long New York City FC and their supporters have waited for this day. In easier terms, 14 months to the day of the very first meeting between both NYCFC and the Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena, a 2-1 Red Bull win on May 10, 2015.
The memory of the continued nightmare still haunted NYCFC going into Sunday’s match – their players, head coach Patrick Vieira and even more so, their supporter base. Then again, to get humiliated the way they did just over a month ago would haunt anyone.
However, following the theme of humility that Vieira has set for his club throughout the season, the 7-0 loss to the Red Bulls in the first matchup didn’t just humiliate NYCFC, it humbled them. NYCFC proved that humility Sunday afternoon at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, notching their first-ever win against the Red Bulls, 2-0 ending a four-match skid against their Jersey rivals.
That’s what it means to @Guaje7Villa & @OfficialVieira. #NYDerby pic.twitter.com/k7uaUtHthf
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 3, 2016
“I think we did our homework,” Vieira said. “I was more pleased with the way we played because we stuck to our principles and that was really good.
“We had all week to prepare for the game. We were a completely new version of New York City because we had a week to prepare for the game. Mentally and physically we were prepared to play a derby game and that wasn’t the case when we played the first game. Today I was really pleased. We worked hard. We worked well. I strongly believe that we had the best team today.”
Rookie Jack Harrison opened the scoring in the eighth minute, clinching his second professional goal on an Andrea Pirlo corner kick across and outside of the 18-yard box, beating Red Bulls keeper Luis Robles to the near post. Captain David Villa extended NYCFC’s lead to 2-0 in the 66th minute, tapping in a low cross from Harrison.
The goal was Villa’s first in the New York Derby.
However, the play of the club on the field isn’t the full story here.
Although the story of the second chapter of the 2016 New York Derby will be told as NYCFC finally getting over their Jersey rivals, the eyes should also go toward the supporters who suffered through the “red sweep” a year ago and the nationally televised 7-0 execution just last month, stuck around and stuck together and did their part in the stands on Sunday.
“For the fans, it’s different,” Villa mentioned after the match. “It’s different. It’s all day thinking about the derby, thinking ‘we are the team of the city.’
“We are happy. We are happy because we didn’t do well in the last derby. I think that our supporters deserved a little more. And today we played well again.”
The supporters section in the Yankee Stadium bleachers grew louder towards the end, especially after Villa’s goal. The catchy “Come On New York” chant filled the stadium as the clock went into stoppage time and afterwards the supporters filled River Ave. under the 4-line, celebrating as if they won the MLS Cup.
This wasn’t just another win for NYCFC — now their third straight and second via a clean sheet. This was a win against “them.”
“Them” being the Red Bulls: a team that has claimed New York as far back as their inaugural MLS days as the Metrostars, built a stadium around a bunch of empty, worn down warehouses in Harrison, New Jersey, but yet never played a match, or at least a meaningful one in New York City’s five boroughs until NYCFC came along. A team of which never truly had a spotlight on them in such a sense as they do now until NYCFC came along.
At least in their days as the Metrostars they acknowledged the New Jersey part.
As much as the supporters have shown their excitement, NYCFC’s players themselves showed their excitement about the win.
Not a tweeter but
-not being able 2 train this week
-out of position
For 1st place & the clean sheet…
— Jason Hernandez (@JasonH_2) July 3, 2016
Oh and btw… NY IS BLUE!!!?⚪️?⚪️?⚪️ #WeAreOne #NYDerby @NYCFC
— Mikey Lopez (@MLopez12_5) July 3, 2016
Together we are stronger. Great team effort. Thanks NYCFC fans for the support. ⚽️7⃣? @NYCFC #weareone #nycfcfamily pic.twitter.com/ZMj58J3l8A
— David Villa (@Guaje7Villa) July 3, 2016
NY is Blue ???? !!! Great game Great victory. Amazing… https://t.co/m0irjNqydv
— fred Brillant (@BrillantFred13) July 3, 2016
It’s a win that has everyone talking about on social media and a win that will be celebrated throughout Monday’s July 4th festivities.
In the end it’s a big three points that propelled NYCFC to first place in the Eastern Conference table. Just don’t tell that to everyone else.
On Sunday, NYCFC earned three points that will be told for years to come.
So where were you when NYCFC beat the Red Bulls for the first time?