MLS: New York City FC at New York Red Bulls
Jul 24, 2016; Harrison, NJ, USA; New York Red Bulls forward Bradley Wright-Phillips (99) celebrates scoring a goal during the first half against the New York City FC at Red Bull Arena. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Red Bulls look to capitalize on a five-game east coast stretch after a strong draw against LA Galaxy.

New York Red Bull Form: 

  • 5W-2D-6L
  • 17 pts. (6th in east)

Next Games:

vs. New England (5/27), at Montreal (6/3), at Philadelphia (6/18), vs. NYCFC (6/24), at New England (7/5)

The New York Red Bulls historically have been a northeastern powerhouse in MLS. RBNY does not own any MLS titles, but the team has been consistently strong over the years. If you don’t agree, here is a listing of RBNY’s regular season placing over the previous five years:

  • 2016- 1st in East
  • 2015- 1st in East*
  • 2014- 4th in East
  • 2013- 1st in East*
  • 2012- 3rd in East

* Winner of Supporter’s Shield

In fact, achieving three first-place finishes makes RBNY the most successful eastern conference team in the last five years. Arguably, this is true if success is measured in first place finishes not MLS Cups.

Despite poor playoff performances within those five years (not reaching the finals once), RBNY have dominated their eastern conference opponents in regular-season play. The New York Red Bulls have been so dominant in fact the newfound rivalry of NYCFC and RBNY has declared NY as “red.” This is established by RBNY winning their last meeting and owning the all-time record of five wins to NYCFC’s one.

Could the popular phrase “New York is Red,” however, actually extend to “New England is Red?” While New York geographically does not fall in New England territory, does RBNY eastern conference dominance establish the area as red?

New York is Red

There is no doubt that New York is Red. While NYCFC currently sits third in the east, RBNY own New York. Since the first matchup between these two teams on May 10, 2015, RBNY have dominated their Hudson River rivals. The current record between the two remains at 5-to-1 in favor of the New York Red Bulls.

If the win ratio is not evidence enough, maybe the May 21, 2016, match could suffice. The New York Red Bulls walked away with a 7-0 win over NYCFC. With due respect, NYCFC did rebound in the next match where they walked away with a 2-0 win at Yankee Stadium.

New York will forever be red until NYCFC gains some future wins from this rivalry. Another way of course would be if NYCFC wins an MLS Cup title before RBNY do. This would certainly declare New York, and the nation blue (temporarily) for that matter.

For now, New York will remain red. NYCFC’s next opportunity to establish New York as blue is June 14th where the two will face off. Unlucky for NYCFC, this match will be at Red Bull Arena, where they have yet to come away with any points.

New England is Red …?

RBNY’s recent dominance in the Eastern Conference is well established. In fact, RBNY’s success is spilling over into New England territory. For the past five years RBNY has finished in first place three out of the five years. For New England the case has been quite different. Here is the placing of New England the previous five years:

  • 2016- 7th in East
  • 2015- 5th in East
  • 2014- 2nd in East
  • 2013- 3rd in East
  • 2012- 9th in East

As the previous five years have shown, RBNY has bested their northern opponents nearly in every season. This means New England is red right? Not so fast.

While RBNY recently has bested the New England Revolution in regular season play the post season is a different story. Historically New England has been much more successful in post season play. New England actually finished runner up five times in their history. RBNY on the other hand only achieved this feat once.

RBNY, post season aside, also have fallen short in head to head match ups versus New England. The overall record between these teams sits at 29 Wins (NE), 24 Wins (RBNY), 15 Draws. If decided by historical regular season play, New England is not quite red … yet.

While the New York Red Bulls trail by five wins, recent momentum is in their favor. Last year’s battles between the two teams resulted in one win each. While last year’s matches were split, this year RBNY look to capitalize and gain two wins against New England. This would put the rivalry at 29 for New England and 26 for RBNY.

For now RBNY will have to settle for New York only being red. This will be tested on June 24th when NYCFC comes to Red Bull Arena. With a sold out crowd expected, RBNY will be in good shape after their test Saturday against New England. For now, RBNY on Saturday will look to continue to push to make New England red for the first time in MLS history.

Chris Sudol is a former college soccer player who now avidly supports the New York Red Bulls, Arsenal, and Barcelona, among many other soccer teams.