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Credit is due for the New York Red Bulls.
Just when it looked like their season could begin to spiral out of control, they bounced back last week with an unexpected and stunning 4-0 away win against Inter Miami.
Once looking like one of the most vulnerable teams in MLS, NYRB silenced many of their doubters through their most one-sided victory of the season so far.
That said, can they maintain this new form against rivals New York City FC?
NYCFC have been undefeated in their last two matches, and although they’ve been inconsistent, they’re currently one of the more likely candidates that could earn a place in the playoffs.
Most importantly, they also have an incredible game-changer that has been near-perfect for them since August.
It’ll be a thrilling Hudson River Derby battle, but pick NYCFC for the win.
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In what will be their first of two meetings this week, both the NYRB and NYCFC will kick off their Hudson River Derby series on Wednesday in New Jersey’s Red Bull Arena.
As mentioned earlier, NYRB will be heading into the mid-week game with a bit more hope after recently claiming their first win since August 18th, which is their second in their last 12.
The three points are highly valuable in their playoff chase that has grown more difficult with each passing week, and when looking back, that progress made might prove to be short-lived.
Not only are they facing a rival that has more momentum, but they’re also taking on a striker who emerged as the MLS Player of the Month for August.
It’s amazing to see some of the numbers that Valentin Castellanos has put up.
The forward, who was selected as MLS’ Player of the Month for August, has racked up 12 goals and seven assists in just 23 appearances.
It’s Taty’s time for real ?
Shoutout to the @MLS Player Of The Month ?
— New York City FC (@NYCFC) September 7, 2021
In August and September alone, he’s been incredible with six goals and three assists in his last eight MLS matches.
This has been my best season,” said Castellanos earlier this month. “I’ve already tied last year’s [personal] record of 11 goals, six assists.
Also for those who are curious, the last time Castellanos faced NYRB, he collected three goals and an assist in a 5-2 win last November.
It is fair to wonder if the NYRB’s latest win was simply a fluke.
Granted, we’re saying this about a 4-0 away thrashing, but it’s important to remember that their opponents, Inter Miami, went down to 10 men by the 1st half.
If we’re looking at xG (expected goals) numbers, the result could be slightly misleading as well.
NYRB finished with an xG tally of 2.66, thereby indicating that the 4-0 scoreline might not truly highlight how the match went.
If we’re taking a step further back, we must once again recognize that it’s only their second win since July 8th. They’ve undoubtedly struggled in the last few months.
And with NYRB’s manager heading into his first Hudson River Derby, one could also recognize the fact that NYCFC will have someone who has already taken part in the rivalry.
Although NYRB will be hosting this Wednesday’s rivalry game, and they do tend to do well at home in these situations, NYCFC’s Ronny Deila will have an advantage of his own: Experience.
It’s only been a short amount of time, but after showing up in early 2020, Deila has guided NYCFC through two Hudson River Derby matches.
His first, in August 2020, was a narrow 1-0 loss at Red Bull Arena. A little under three months later, Deila made up for the defeat through the stunning 5-2 win at Yankee Stadium.
NYRB manager Gerhard Struber might not be fazed by the occasion and feel confident at home, and yet, there’s no denying that he has yet to test himself in this rivalry.
Following his arrival late last year, Struber is now set to take part in his first Hudson River Derby.
|New York Red Bulls vs New York City FC Information|
|Teams||New York Red Bulls vs New York City FC|
|Location||Red Bull Arena (Harrison, New Jersey)|
|Time||Wednesday, September 22nd at 5:00 pm PT/8:00 pm ET|
|How to Watch||ESPN+|
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Freelance writer Cesar Hernandez is a specialist in all things American and Mexican soccer. He has written for ESPN FC, The Athletic, The Guardian, FourFourTwo, VICE Sports and several other publications. Along with writing and previous radio appearances on the BBC, talkSPORT and SiriusXM FC, Cesar is also a member of the Mexican Soccer Show podcast. Email: [email protected]More info on Cesar Hernandez
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