The New York Red Bulls face New York City FC twice this week, as a city rivalry takes centre stage in MLS, and both teams are up for the fight.
Eight places separate NYCFC from the Red Bulls, who host the first derby on Wednesday before traveling to their city rivals three days later.
Red Bulls coach Gerhard Struber was in a bullish mood ahead of their home game, stating: “This is New York City in our stadium. In our stadium, we make the rules and we keep the rhythm.
“The boys are so hungry to win this game. That’s it, not more.
“This is a very special, unique week. It’s very interesting what we can create this week, we need wins. We need points to realize the playoffs. It’s a must-have to pick up the necessary points, every player understands what this week means for us. We’re ready for a big fight on Wednesday, to leave everything on the field to win this game.”
The hunt for the playoffs is truly contested in the Eastern Conference, with NYCFC just four points above the cut off as it stands, despite their lofty standing.
“We’re not thinking about (RBNY) at all,” Ronny Deila said.
“All we’re thinking about is that we need six points. That’s what we want. There are a lot of teams behind us coming and winning a lot of games, we want to finish as high as possible.
“Our goal is to be second to give us the best position for the playoffs.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
New York Red Bulls – Fabio
The Red Bulls returned to form with a 4-0 thrashing of Inter Miami last time out, with Fabio netting a brace, just the second time a Red Bulls player has done so in MLS since the start of the 2020 season.
NYCFC – Gudmundur Thorarinsson
Gudmundur Thorarinsson has recorded an assist in consecutive matches, including on NYCFC’s opening goal against FC Cincinnati on Saturday. Thorarinsson had recorded just one assist in his first 36 MLS matches before recording two in the last two games.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– The Red Bulls have won just four of the last 12 Hudson River Derbies (D2 L6) after winning the first four.
– Still, the Red Bulls have won the last three meetings between the teams at Red Bull Arena, only losing one of the eight all-time home matches against NYCFC (W6 D1 L1).
– The Red Bulls’ 4-0 win over Inter Miami on Friday was their largest margin of victory in over two years, since a 4-0 win over Real Salt Lake in June 2019. The four-goal performance marked the first time the Red Bulls scored more than twice in a match this season.
– NYCFC ended a seven-match away winless run (D2 L5) with a 2-1 victory in Cincinnati on Saturday.
– Each of NYCFC’s last two away wins have been in come-from-behind fashion, also coming from 1-0 down to beat LAFC, 2-1, on May 29.