NYCFC needed a statement win in the worst way and snagged it against their cross-town rivals, the New York Red Bulls in the Hudson River Derby.
Heading into one of the most anticipated matches of the season, NYCFC are still looking for more consistent performances.
One week after dispatching Toronto FC, the Bronx Blues lost to the struggling Chicago Fire 3-2. To add injury to insult, the recently in-form Jo Inge Berget picked up a knock in training and was not available for the Hudson River derby.
On a beautiful summer night in the Bronx, the stage was set for a top of the table matchup. With the Redbulls winning five of the last nine derby matches, NYCFC was looking to balance this rivalry and move ahead in the table.
On the other side, the New York Red Bulls were looking to win their fourth match in a row to keep the pressure on MLS leaders Atlanta FC.
Dome Torrent, managing in his first Hudson River derby, inserted forward Rodney Wallace into the line-up as a replacement for David Villa. Injured center-back Maxine Chanot also returned to the starting 11.
Both sides played a high back-line and started the game with attacking mindsets. The Red Bulls looked slightly hungrier for 50/50 balls and NYCFC, while showing promise in moving the ball up the field, lacked a finishing touch in the final third.
Overall, the first half saw most of the NYCFC highlights come from the defense. Alexander Callens had some major interventions and both Chanot and Anton Tinnerholm held the Redbulls’ attack in check.
Unfortunately, Wallace, who actually saw time (although brief) on the field for Costa Rica during the World Cup, was a complete disappointment.
He finished one of NYCFC’s best chances at creating a goal with a poor shot, aimed directly at Luis Robles. Furthermore, Wallace did little in the way to make an impact with his touch and passing, ultimately putting zero pressure on the defense from the left side of the field.
Despite this, the best chance for the offense came towards the end of the first half. Alex Ring floated a beautiful ball into the box, Jesus Medina chested it to Chanot, who slotted the ball just wide of the net.
With both teams playing fairly well, any goals scored would likely be the result of a mistake.
In the second half, the game saw more of the same from both squads. The Redbulls were knocking on the door but deflections and key tackles from Ring and Chanot kept the game tied at nil.
The final breakthrough came during the 85th minute. Prior to this, Jonathan Lewis had been subbed onto the field for Wallace and he did not disappoint.
.@mmoralezoficial lights up Yankee Stadium #ForTheCity pic.twitter.com/WXKdvhemuN
— New York City FC (@NYCFC) July 9, 2018
Lewis used speed and grit to take the ball away from Aaron Long, then set up Maxi Moralez for the game-winner. Moralez tapped in his seventh goal of the season, Lewis, his first assist on the 2018 campaign.
Goalkeeper Sean Johnson finished the game with his sixth clean sheet of the season and NYCFC overtook the Red Bulls in the MLS standings, moving into second place behind Atlanta FC. The win also gives Torrent a record of 2-1 during his tenure.
#JohnsonSaves ? pic.twitter.com/0nsKHQw6sc
— New York City FC (@NYCFC) July 9, 2018
The Citizens will have a quick turnaround as they travel to play the Montreal Impact this Wednesday. The Impact have won their last four games and keeper Evan Bush has saved 78 shots, the most in the MLS this season.
All has been quiet on the transfer front for NYCFC thus far. Back in March, Kyle Schnitzer of the New York Post wrote about the Bronx Blues having funds available for a possible summer transfer. Despite the lack of activity, the six million transfer of Jack Harrison to Manchester City has NYCFC in a good financial position.
“It’s sitting there,” Reyna told The Post earlier this week. “We could add a player, but we’re not in any rush to do that given where we are with our squad. We feel good and will see how the next couple of months shape out. If we want to add someone, it’s likely going to be in the summer. But we’re very happy with our squad.”
Gianni Verschueren of Bleacher Report linked 32-year old Italian midfielder Claudio Marchisio with a move away from Italian superpower Juventus. NYCFC were one of the clubs mentioned that may be interested in Marchisio.
Also, as per Alicia Rodriguez of mlssoccer.com, NYCFC made several additions to their coaching staff and performance team. Albert Puig and Jordi Gris were selected as assistant coaches. Francesc Cos was appointed as director of performance and Ismael Camenforte was hired as head of performance. All four have previous experience with Barcelona FC.
- Score: NYCFC 1 – Redbulls 0
- Shots: NYCFC 14 – Redbulls 14
- Shots on Goal: NYCFC 4 – Redbulls 4
- Possession: NYCFC 53.5% – Redbulls 46.4%