|Photo by Matt Kremkau
by Daniel Feuerstein
The New York Red Bulls once again got ready for another huge Hudson River Derby matchup against the blue side of New York City as they tangled with NYCFC, for their first Leagues Cup matchup in the Round of 32. Once again it was another strong and complete performance by the team in red as they will face the Philadelphia Union down in Chester, Pennsylvania after a one-goal clean sheet victory.
After Luquinhas was taken down inside the area by the defender, The Bronx-born midfielder Omir Fernandez took the penalty and buried it for the lead and the game-winning goal. But after that happened, NYCFC looked shell-shocked, they looked bad. The Red Bulls were pounding chances every single time they had possession of the ball. If not for the goalkeeping of Matt Freese, the result would've been much worse.
Everyone was clicking and attacking strongly, but while Nick Cushing did make changes in the second half, the backline for the Red Bulls continued to frustrate NYCFC. They might have lost several balls, but their run-back defense was on point and forced some poor shots by the attackers. Coronel had one or two strong saves, but for the entire night, he wasn't troubled at all. His positioning was strong and nothing cheap was going to get by him.
For the Hudson River Derby, outside of the regular season of MLS, the Red Bulls are now undefeated in four games against NYCFC with three of them in the US Open Cup, and now in the Leagues Cup. Even though all four games were at Red Bull Arena, it's not the club's fault that the blue side continues to be a nomad for their home games either at Yankee Stadium, Citi Field, Rentscheler Field, BMO Stadium, and when they continue to borrow Red Bull Arena.
They looked really good and we will see in September when the Red Bulls make their visit to Yankee Stadium for that road tilt. While this victory is sweet, the problems continue with some of the fans on the blue side. Ever since this Rivalry started, the Red Bulls victories have made a few NYCFC fans act like hooligans and thieves. If it's not stealing seats, it's throwing a flare on the pitch. Now they began the homophobic chants by the Mexican fans to begin the first of three warnings, and now after the match, more issues began.
Photographer John Perd posted on his X account, in the parking lot next to the Harrison PATH Train Station when he saw an NYCFC fan pull out a blade and threatened Red Bull fans with harm. Thank goodness Harrison's Police Department was there to stop the threat from getting worse. When will MLS truly get involved and throw some suspensions around at that fan base? I do understand not everyone is like that, but it's these bad apples that continue to destroy something that is supposed to be fun.
It's getting tiresome to see hooliganism showing up when some of these so-called fans, can't handle a loss against your in-city rivals. In all my years of watching NY Sports, I have never seen fights between Jets & Giants Fans, Rangers & Islanders fans, or Knicks & Nets fans. It's only been the verbal jabbing. Also when Red Bulls fans suffer a loss against NYCFC, they get up out of their seats either at Red Bull Arena or at Yankee Stadium and walk home. They continue to behave properly.
So hopefully, that moment will come when MLS, will sanction these fans and force the club to play behind closed doors determining which venue will be called home. It's the proper thing to do, but now the club is getting ready for its own version of Monday Night Football down in the Philly area.