Hudson River Derby Draw For NYCFC

By Carlos IV De Jesus 

NYCFC have had their shares of ups and downs however at Yankee stadium they almost seem unbeatable. The Red Bulls came  to Yankee Stadium Tuesday night with their usual flair and a point ahead in the Eastern Conference standings, as they looked to bury their rivals under their own home and did with a 1-1 draw. The stadium was packed with this being the last Hudson River Derby of the regular season.

The air reeked of desperation with bouncing red and blues on either end willing the derby to a fever pitch, the welcoming noise of an August playoff. Regularly played long balls means bodies clashing off each other on the pitch, the whistle ever present in a first half filled with fits and starts. First half open looks for David Villa bore no fruit, but where he failed the red hot bull Bradley Wright Phillips soared, scoring his 16th of the season with a splendid header past a helpless Sean Johnson.

The intensity only increasing, Eloi Amagat saw red through a sloppy foul. This left an already shorthanded NYCFC side who entered the game with two injured starters and another on suspension, even more depleted. Back to back headaches closed out a first half resembling a WWE production to the delight of the rabid fans in attendance.

 New York City forward David Villa (7) and New York Red Bulls defender Tim Parker (26) battle for the ball during second half at Yankee Stadium. Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Today we’re very happy with the result because you know what happens when you play against this team.” NYCFC coach Domenec Torrent said. “They’re a tough team, Red Bulls”

The second half opened with each team sharing eight fouls a piece, and a 10 -man NYCFC looking hungry to equalize. Led by a redemption seeking David Villa, he sliced forward exploding for his 10th goal of the season, sneaking one under Luis Robles to tie the score. The Blues continued to push the pace, leaving the Red Bulls the ones looking a man down, on their heels and reeling.

“We talked at halftime that we needed a lot of effort from the two strikers because we had one player out.” Villa said. “We needed to be the majority of time closer to their box and score.

 New York City forward David Villa (7) scores a goal during second half against New York Red Bulls at Yankee Stadium. Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The sheer pace of the game unattainable, NYCFC attempted to get back on defense only for an unlucky Ebenezer Ofori to be shown red for a cleat on the always frustrating Phillips. The home crowd was left in disbelief, as the well continued to run dry with nine men in blue now tasked with holding off 11 reds looking to steal one.

“Tough to play with two players down”  defender Anton Tinnerholm said “it is not something you train for. It shows our fighting spirit. The fans created a great atmosphere”

With a yellow card given to each side for dissent within three minutes of each other, neither side looked to give an inch. The last fifteen minutes promised to bring havoc and raised pulses, both were delivered. With Villa being replaced by Jonathan Lewis and seven minutes of extra time given, the Bronx crowd raised the volume for one more push, singing for their nine blue men to finish off a gutsy display with an exhaustive finish.

 New York City goalkeeper Sean Johnson (1) reacts after a save during second half against New York Red Bulls at Yankee Stadium. Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The final whistle blew at a 1-1 draw as red and blue bodies collapsed on the pitch. All 30,000 in attendance on their feet applauded a neck and neck display of what the MLS delivers best, a physical tank emptying performance and a series finale that will be hard to forget.

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