This season’s New York Derby kicks off in Harrison, N.J., on Saturday with New York City FC (6-1-2, 20 points) atop the standings and the New York Red Bulls (4-3-0, 12 points) aiming to string together consecutive MLS victories for the first time this season.
Two weeks removed from their first loss of the season, NYCFC righted the ship last weekend with a 3-1 victory at home over FC Dallas. Captain David Villa notched goals 400 and 401 of his professional career in the victory, giving him four tallies on the season.
That victory followed the NYFC’s first loss, a 3-0 shutout in Portland, and though the game is just over the Hudson River, it’s an opportunity to re-establish their winning ways on the road, where they are 2-1-2.
To do that, NYFC will have to slow down a high-scoring Red Bulls club coming off their first road win of the season, after defeating the L.A. Galaxy 3-2 in Los Angeles. Daniel Royer and Florian Valot scored before the Galaxy evened the game. Kaku’s penalty kick in the 84th minute after a handball in the box gave them the win.
The victory was the fifth match this season where the Red Bulls have scored at least three goals, and if NYCFC wants to continue last season’s mastery of the cross-town rivalry, they’ll have to play a disciplined game in their own end, where they’ve done well limiting opponents’ chances.
NYCFC could be looking at a game without midfielder Ismael Tajouri-Shradi (hamstring) and defender Ronald Matarrita (lower body), who are both listed as questionable. Tajouri-Shradi’s offensive production (four goals and an assist on the season) would be particularly missed if he can’t go on Saturday.
The Red Bulls will be without defender Kyle Duncan (ACL surgery), and defender Connor Lade (ankle) is questionable, making the job of keeping NYCFC off the scorer’s sheet all the more difficult.
But Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch said this week, “We’ll be really fired up and really ready for a massive challenge for us at this point in our season, and a chance for us to prove ourselves.”
—Field Level Media