|photo from New York Red Bulls
And so, after two matches played - four days apart, New York is Red.
In the latest chapter of the Hudson River Derby, Omir Fernandez's goal in the first half proved to be the difference as the New York Red Bulls defeated their bitter local rivals New York City FC, 1-0 at Yankee Stadium Saturday night. Their first victory at that venue was since May 21, 2016, when they defeated NYCFC, 7-0, a match infamously known as the "Red Wedding."
Back on Wednesday night, the two teams battled to a 1-1 draw, with the match ending controversially on Patrik Klimala's penalty-kick goal in the 109th minute over in Red Bull Arena. But on this night, New York City FC was looking to put their stamp on the rivalry on their home ground, and in the process, their bitter rivals in the rearview mirror.
With the hosts using the small pitch as a de facto 12th man, NYCFC came out on fire, looking to dictate the pace early on. On two dangerous occasions, New York City forward Valentin (Taty) Castellanos had great looks to put the ball away. Still, the shots went wide of the net each time. But from the 10th minute on, the Red Bulls seemed to regain their composure, cutting off NYCFC's passing lanes and effectively making the small field - even smaller to their advantage.
And in the 42nd minute, the effort would pay off. Kyle Duncan took a pass from Sean Davis at the top of the box and patiently held the play for a split second. Then delivered a pass right across the box where Omir Fernandez would immediately pounce on the ball and blasted it past goalkeeper Sean Johnson for the match's only goal of the evening.
Captian Sean Davis and the rest of the midfield corps had an excellent, very even match from end to end, attacking the ball, closing passing lanes, blocking everything in sight, and not giving New York City anything to build an attack on, which served them well as they collectively tried to preserve the clean sheet.
New York City nearly had a chance to equalize in the 70th minute. A through ball found forward Valentin Castellanos alone with only Carlos Coronel standing between him and the goal. But defender Kyle Duncan closed him down from behind and neutralized the threat.
Jesus Media also had an opportunity to put City on the scoreboard eight minutes later as he tried to chip the ball over the New York goalkeeper's head, but the ball harmlessly bounced right in the hands of Coronel, much to the relief of the traveling supporters. But NYCFC continued to press the attack. Jesus Medina took a cross by Santiago Rodriguez from the sideline. He headed the ball directly to the net, forcing Coronel to make another save, this time, from point-blank range. His best one of the evening.
With the Red Bulls holding on to a slim one-goal lead, they withstood a furious last-minute challenge by the home side before the referee blew the final whistle, which gave the visitors a massive victory at the expense of their bitter local rivals and sending their beleaguered buy joyful traveling supporters on a celebratory ride home, ready to face the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday evening.
New York City FC: Sean Johnson, Anton Tinnerholm, Alexander Callens (Malte Amundsen, 68’), James Sands, Gudmundur Thorarinsson (Heber, 68’), Alfredo Morales, Maxi Moralez, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi (Jesus Medina, HT), Nicolas Acevedo (Thiago, 85’), Talles Magno (Santiago Rodriguez, HT), Valentin Castellanos
New York Red Bulls: Carlos Coronel, John Tolkin, Sean Nealis, Kyle Duncan, Tom Edwards (Andrés Reyes, 57’), Andrew Gutman, Sean Davis, Cristian Cásseres, Jr. (Daniel Royer, 86’), Dru Yearwood, Omir Fernandez (Wiki Carmona, 64’), Patryk Klimala (Tom Barlow, 57’)