Red Bulls vs. NYC FC
(JSN file photo by Michael Franco)

Hudson River Derby ends scoreless as Red Bulls cling to playoff slot

In a must-win situation for both the New York Red Bulls (7-9-12) and New York City FC (6-13-10), the Hudson River Derby ended in a disappointing scoreless tie on Saturday. Yankee Stadium was filled with nearly 30,000 fans from both sides of the Hudson, but it’s not often that both supporting sides leave the game disappointed by the outcome. But with the Red Bulls winning in their previous derby, they were the aggregate winner of the inaugural Hudson River Derby trophy.

Midfielder Daniel Edelman spoke on the result of the match.

“The first 45 minutes was great, they sort of got back into it in the second 45, but I was really happy with the fight in general,” Edelman said. “We have that mentality and mindset; I think that was a consistent game of like 90 minutes of just grit and grind and we were just unlucky to put one away.”

The Red Bulls controlled the first half in terms of possession and shots. Forward Elias Manoel had two shots within the first five minutes but was unable to finish after a save by goalkeeper Matthew Freese on one and a wide left miss on the other. The momentum shifted in favor of the Red Bulls again in the closing minutes of the first half when midfielder Luquinhas played an excellent through ball to Manoel for a one-on-one with the keeper, but it was skied over the net for another miss.

The match was as aggressive and intense as would be expected with a rivalry like this. A combined 26 fouls (13 for each side), six yellow cards (three for each side) and plenty of on-field arguments between opposing players. The Red Bulls are tied for the league-lead 70 yellow cards.

Goalkeeper Carlos Coronel was credited with two saves at the end of the day, both coming in the last 10 minutes of the game as NYCFC tried everything they could to put the game away. Coronel also earned his 28th shutout with the Red Bulls and his sixth against NYCFC.

The Red Bulls were without head coach Troy Lesesne due to a suspension after he accumulated another yellow card in their match against the Philadelphian Union. He spoke high praise of the staff who took control in his absence including Zach Prince who stepped up in a big rivalry game.

“When I look at the game and I am from afar, I see a group that is fighting, still believes that we can get into the playoffs and is putting forward the effort that matches that type of thought process,” Lesesne said. “While it is not three points today, it is a real good building block, I love the way that we played in terms of the first half. I thought we were excellent and created chances, clearly, we have to capitalize on the moments that we create.”

Both teams inched a little bit closer to a playoff spot but are still in a difficult position. NYCFC have the upper hand as they are a point above the Red Bulls at 31. The pressure is on for the Red Bulls as they now risk missing the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2009. New York is tied for the most consecutive seasons making the playoffs at 13 seasons. 

With just six regular season games left, the Red Bulls will look to do anything and everything they can to claim a spot in the playoffs. A lack of goals throughout the season doesn’t speak for their lack of effort. New York is averaging over four shots on goal per game yet less than a goal per game this season. If they have any hopes of making the playoffs for a 14th consecutive year, they need to find the back of the net.

The Red Bulls will face Austin FC on Wednesday night at Red Bull Arena in hopes of gaining another three points.