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Set piece setbacks doom Red Bulls, lose to NYCFC, 2-0

photo by Matt Kremkau

BRONX, NY - New York City FC took full advantage of two set-piece blunders by the New York defense in the first half. And that was all they needed to sweep the season Hudson River Derby, defeating the Red Bulls, 2-0.

With their 13th consecutive playoff appearance already assured, the Red Bulls made the quick trip across the Hudson River to resume their hostilities with local rival and defending MLS Cup Champion New York City FC.

It didn't take very long for the hosts to get on the scoreboard. The Red Bulls surrendered a corner kick just a minute in the match. Maxi Moralez delivered a great ball over to defender Alexander Callens, who leaped over and headed the ball in the back of the net to take the early lead.

Red Bulls nearly responded ten minutes later as Luquinhas looked at an open net for a split second, but it was Alexander Callens sliding across the box and blocking the shot. Cristian Casseres pounced on the rebound but skied his chance in the seats.

New York City doubled their advantage in the 23rd minute, and once again, it involved a corner kick. Gabriel Pereira delivered the cross, and the Red Bull defense once again had trouble securing the ball. But Santiago Rodriguez managed to find it first and promptly put it in the back of the net to the sheer delight of the home supporters. 

The Red Bulls thought they had cached in on goal from a set piece in the 38th minute, but after a quick review, VAR judged that one of the Red Bulls' players was in an offside position when the ball bounced off the post before the rebound. And the goal was overturned.

The Red Bulls pushed hard to get at least one on the scoreboard but could not solve the NYCFC defense. As the final whistle blew, the result cemented the loss and clean sheet for captain Sean Johnson. And until the next time they meet, perhaps in the MLS Cup Playoffs, the city both teams call home will remain in blue for the foreseeable future. 

THE BIG PICTURE:

If you are a head coach in Major League Soccer, let alone any league on the planet, it is to have an utterly shambolic performance in front of your fans during a huge local rival match. Even more ridiculous is to have you practically guaranteeing your squad would walk away with a win beforehand.

For it was Gerhard Struber's team that were the ones walking off the Yankee Stadium pitch embarrassed, exposed, and just ready for the international break before heading off to face Columbus on the first of October.

Until then, the team was in an excellent mindset before making the cross-river trip. With the team looking very limited in such offensive categories, they would have to be forced to be nearly perfect every time from here on out as they try to put a stranglehold on third place.

Even better, it would be an excellent idea not to make such declarations unless your team is ready to back it up.

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