The New York Red Bulls and New York City FC share prime location in the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference race.
How they arrived there recently differs heading into Wednesday’s final match of the Hudson River Derby at Yankee Stadium.
The Red Bulls (15-6-3) own 48 points, and a win could vault them into a first-place tie for at least two days with Atlanta, which plays Orlando City on Friday.
Since their 1-0 loss in the Bronx on July 8, the Red Bulls are 5-1-1 in their last seven games. The Red Bulls rallied for a 2-2 tie Saturday in Vancouver when Daniel Royer scored his second goal of the game in the 90th minute.
Royer’s second goal occurred with the Red Bulls down a man because Michael Murillo was given a second yellow card in the 84th minute. Royer’s first goal occurred off a feed from Bradley Wright-Phillips in the fifth minute.
“We’re always thinking about the big picture to size up what’s ahead while having an eye on a game at a time,” Red Bulls coach Chris Armas told reporters. “To come to Vancouver and start our tough stretch with a hard-fought point, down a man, the way we did it I thought was a great way to kick things off here.”
Royer has six of his 10 goals since the last meeting at Yankee Stadium, while Wright-Phillips has four goals and two assists since New York’s last trip to the Bronx.
NYCFC own 47 points and are four behind Atlanta after going 1-2-1 in their last four games. The rough stretch follows a four-game winning streak, all by shutouts, with three of those wins at home.
NYCFC are 10-0-2 at home and are hoping to rebound from a 2-0 loss at Philadelphia on Saturday, when they allowed two second-half goals. NYCFC also ended the loss with nine players after Jesus Medina injured his hamstring, the team used its three substitutions and Ronald Matarrita was given a red card.
Since their four-game winning streak, NYCFC have allowed six of their nine goals after halftime. Overall, they have allowed 15 of their 33 goals in the second half.
“Everybody knows right now we have a problem in the second half,” NYCFC coach Dome Torrent said. “We have to find the solution about that because we lose a little bit of intensity. I watched, for example, the last game against Red Bulls, and we were able to win 70-80 percent of the duels. If we will try to win MLS, we have to improve at least in the intensity.”
The Red Bulls lead the all-time series 6-4-1.
—Field Level Media