A wild night in the Bronx ended with both NYCFC and NY Redbulls sharing the spoils. The Hudson River derby finished in a draw.
Rivalry week in MLS kicked off with an entertaining match between cross-town rivals NYCFC and New York Red Bulls. Prior to kick-off Redbulls owned a one-point lead in the standings with both squads in the top three in the Eastern Conference.
On a beautiful evening in the Bronx, the match had just about a little of everything. Two goals, two red cards, six yellow cards, and even a surprise performance from the Blue Man group were all apart of the action.
In an attempt to solve his issues at centre back. Dome Torrent started Maxime Chanot and Sebastien Ibeagha in the back four. Eloi Amagat received his first start in midfield alongside Ebenezer Ofori and Alex Ring.
Redbulls started the game with a good defensive showing. NYCFC were able to have possession of the ball but were forced to push their offense out to the wings.
The first real chance of the game came from Bradley Wright-Phillips. BWP latched onto a through ball and called keeper Sean Johnson into action with a low strike to the opposite corner.
Johnson was up to the challenge and made a great save at full extension.
? 0-0 ? pic.twitter.com/MVeMyorNb8
— New York City FC (@NYCFC) August 22, 2018
In the 26th minute, David Villa came close to putting the home side up a goal. Villa took the ball off a bounce and sent it right into the side netting. Nevertheless, the energy was there from both sides making for an electrifying atmosphere.
In the 37th minute, it was Wright-Phillips who opened the scoring. Wright-Phillips showed off his athleticism, heading home a cross from Daniel Royer. It seemed that Ben Sweat was a little late in getting to his man.
Don't they know he's lethal from that spot!?!?!
0-1 #NYCvRBNY | #RBNY pic.twitter.com/JWAMfQNAzc
— New York Red Bulls (@NewYorkRedBulls) August 23, 2018
And for the Bronx Blues, the news just kept getting worse. Amagat’s MLS long-awaited debut ended in just 40 minutes. Amagat received a straight red card for a studs-up sliding tackle, leaving his team to play with 10 men for the rest of the match.
At the halfway point, Redbulls held a one-goal lead and were ahead in total shots and crosses. Redbulls were dangerous throughout the first half from set pieces and crosses into the box.
In the second half, it appeared that Torrent’s half-time speech inspired more aggressive and positive play from the offense. Jo-Inge Berget came on for Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and the formation went to 4-3-2.
The Cityzens pushed Redbulls back on their heels, and by the 50th minute, their hard work was rewarded by Villa. Berget set the captain up for a beautiful goal, and Villa did not disappoint.
DAVID VILLA EQUALIZES #ForTheCity pic.twitter.com/JyWqL8Fm6H
— New York City FC (@NYCFC) August 23, 2018
Tied at one, and despite being down a man, NYCFC continued to put pressure on the Redbulls’ defense. But the obstacles kept mounting. First, substitute Berget appeared to pick up an injury and Rodney Wallace came on for him in the 56th minute.
Soon after, and one of the biggest talking points of the game, Ofori was given a very questionable straight red card in the 70th minute. Ofori clearly made contact with the back of Wright-Phillips leg, yet any reasonable fan would be hard-pressed to assume any malicious intent from the tackle.
67. @Guaje7Villa close!
10-man NYCFC asking the questions here with more than 20' to play…
? 1-1 ? pic.twitter.com/1IGprVkzTH
— New York City FC (@NYCFC) August 23, 2018
Down to nine men, NYCFC continued to fight, putting numbers behind the ball when Redbulls were on the attack. Surprisingly, in a situation where most managers would have opted for a more conservative approach, it appeared the Bronx Blues wanted to push for a winner even up to the dying minutes of the match.
Prior to the final whistle, Maxi Moralez and others stifled several Redbulls attacks, throwing themselves in front of long-range shots and putting the finishing touches on what was an impressive draw at home despite the circumstances.
If it weren’t for the David Villa equalizer, Sean Johnson could have easily been the man of the match. Johnson was top-class and the ever-present force between the sticks that his team needed.
In the post-game Torrent spoke about sacrificing a full-dive into his ideas and philosophy regarding play in favor of a game-to-game approach. Torrent appeared satisfied with the point and was careful when discussing the referee’s performance during the match.
In the end, both squads remain exactly where they began the night in the table. Redbulls will be back in action when they take on D.C. United. NYCFC will travel to Columbus to take on the Crew in two weeks.
- Score NY Redbulls – 1 NYCFC – 1
- Shots NY Redbulls – 17 NYCFC – 11
- Possession NY Redbulls – 48.5% NYCFC 51.5%