NYCFC’s record against the Red Bulls has been dreadful since their first season and simply must improve in their upcoming clash.
For all of NYCFC’s ventures at the top of the MLS since their opening season in 2015, their struggle to establish any sort of local dominance has been significant. Their most recent defeat to the New York Red Bulls in the U.S Open Cup prevented their first-ever victory in the competition, and only a second ever victory against their local rivals.
It’s now just one victory and five losses in six matches against the Harrison side.
This defeat shouldn’t be too damaging as the primary focus should be their MLS campaign, but after a reasonably successful campaign last year, and a strong start to this year’s season, NYC supporters’ expectation that their side improve their record in the New York derby isn’t unreasonable by any stretch.
In 2015, the two defeats to the Red Bulls were more than understandable. It was the organization’s first-ever year and while they had failed to qualify for the playoffs, the Red Bulls claimed first place in the Eastern Conference. The Harrison side’s superiority was obvious.
Though NYC beat the Red Bulls for the first time last season, they fell to embarrassing 7-0 and 4-1 defeats in their other two matches. However, given that NYCFC finished only a few points behind their New York rivals, the gap in the quality of the two sides did not appear as minor as it actually was. Despite a marginal points difference between the two, the Red Bulls were by far the stronger side head to head.
NYC’s superior start to the season served as the strongest implication yet that Patrick Vieira’s men would finally be able to at least halt the Red Bull’s local dominance. While the Yankee Stadium side managed some impressive wins, such as a 3-2 win at Columbus and a 3-0 win at Orlando, the Red Bulls had been poor on several occasions. They still sit four points above the Red Bulls.
Yet, they suffered another defeat at Red Bull Arena. Fortunately, the defeat was not heavy, but the result supplements the notion that at the moment, the Red Bulls rule the New York area, even if NYC FC’s season has featured more impressive outcomes.
As for their fixture on the 24th, NYC cannot afford another slip-up. They could potentially end up behind their local rivals depending on results, but even should the four point gap remain until their meeting, a defeat at the Red Bull Arena would have Jesse Marsch’s side breathing down the Boys in Blue’s necks.
Local pride isn’t too big a deal when a side finds themselves in a challenge for a top position, and for that reason, NYC have been fortunate that their derby defeats have not done too much harm. However, the stakes are far bigger than a feel-good factor when the two sides next meet.