The city rivals will be facing each other for the 23rd time this coming weekend and it looks like New York Red Bulls, who have a more successful history in this with 14 wins, two draws and seven losses, are going to make that 15 wins against New York City FC.
New York City FC are in the middle of a crisis at the moment and New York Red Bulls are the last team they’d want to face during what has become a conspicuous low point. The defending champions haven’t got a victory in their last 10 MLS matches but are still in fourth place on the eastern conference table. Their playoffs spot might just be in jeopardy now. New York Red Bulls are fairly safe in the race and four points ahead of New York City FC in third place on the eastern conference table.
New York Red Bulls are the clear favorites heading into this, which isn’t something anyone would’ve said a month back.
The two sides last met in July with New York City FC winning the match 1-0 thanks to a Valentin Castellanos strike. New York City FC could sure use the services of someone like him right now. They were absolutely worth their three points on the day, having 65 percent of the possession, taking 18 shots with nine on target,
The defending champions probably came away from that game thinking they should’ve won by a bigger margin. At the moment, winning by any means would do because they’re in freefall.
New York City FC have faced their fair share of humiliation in recent weeks but nothing could’ve prepared them for losing to a Charlotte FC side that were down to 10 men for large parts of the game last weekend. Former Leicester City star and Premier League champion, Christian Fuchs, was sent off in the 56th minute but New York City FC were unable to take advantage of the situation.
Daniel Rios had put Charlotte FC up in the 5th minute and nothing could’ve been worse for a side looking to regain its confidence than conceding an early goal. Despite the good fortune that came their way, New York City FC never really looked like coming back.
Valentin Castellanos was last season’s MLS golden boot winner and the star man of this team. His move to La Liga side Girona was always going to leave the side short but no one would have foreseen this struggle. The team seems to have completely lost its identity with his departure. It never seemed from the outside like this team was so heavily dependent but that has come under question.
Heliocentric attacks have been out of fashion in most football leagues and even in international soccer because the reliance of any one individual can be costly if that individual is unavailable for whatever reason – and New York City FC seem to be learning this the hard way. They need to move on from him.
Clearly, the system that was working prior to Castellanos’ departure can’t be used any longer. The sample size is fairly big now and New York City FC need to reinvent themselves.
This might mean playing less expansively, trying to shut up shop, putting some players who have been crucial to this side on the bench and more. There’s still a decent team in there and some top players, but without certain pieces falling into place, they won’t move as a cohesive unit. New York City FC need to leave their ego aside and go back to the basics before they can regain their confidence. This game might not be ideal to make such changes but there’s no time like the present.
New York Red Bulls were impressive over the weekend against a New England Revolution side that desperately needed a win. The match ended with the Red Bulls winning 2-1 thanks to goals from Cristian Cásseres Jr. and Lewis Morgan in the second half, with Morgans’ winner coming from the penalty spot.
The most impressive aspect of the performance was the immediate response to going a goal down after Thomas McNamara put New England Revolution ahead in the 53rd minute. Cristian Casseres Jr.’s goal came just five minutes later. New York Red Bulls did well to hold on in the last 15 minutes to get all three points. They’ve been a steady side all season and this was yet another performance that displayed the same.
The likes of Sebastian Driussi and Hany Mukhtar have taken the limelight this season in the MLS, which has meant that the likes of Lewis Morgan have not got the attention that their performances deserve.
The winning penalty from the weekend was his 14th goal of the season. He’s also made four assists to go with that and he’s doing all this despite not being a center-forward. Luquinhas and Patryk Klimala are next on the list in New York Red Bulls’ goalscoring charts, which makes Morgans’ feat even more impressive. The team has to go out and get a new center-forward in the market next season to take some of the offensive burden away from Morgan’s shoulders, but this will do for the time being.
It’s a local derby and New York Red Bulls will always work their socks off but it’s even more important that they start with the right energy in this match because New York City FC are really fragile at the moment.
They need to push for that first goal in the first 20 minutes and really weaken whatever resolve New York City FC might have at the start of the match. New York Red Bulls haven’t been the most free-scoring team in the MLS this season as the previous section suggests.
They’ll be more reliant on their high-pressing system creating most of the chances for them but something simpler might be enough against this version of New York City FC. The chances will come and when they do, New York Red Bulls have got to make sure they convert them.
|Teams||New York City FC vs New York Red Bulls|
|Time||Saturday, September 17 at 1pm ET onwards|
|How to watch||ESPN+, DAZN, YES Network and MSG|
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Varun is a web journalist who has been writing on sports for 13 years. He took a shine for the MLS during the 2021 season and has been following it and writing about it since, alongside his work involving the English Premier League, La Liga, and the Serie A. He is deeply interested in soccer analytics and strategy and has aspirations to move into coaching at some point. Email: [email protected]More info on Varun Shetty
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