Five Things: True Grit Sees NYCFC Through

Five Things on Red Bulls Draw

New York City FC drew 1-1 with Red Bulls in Harrison on Friday night.

Here’s Managing Editor Mark Booth with five things we learned from a pulsating Hudson River Derby match…

The Balance of Play

Red Bulls may have had the lion’s share of the game’s best chances but this was a match that NYCFC could have won on another day.

As Patrick Vieira said in his post-game press conference, it was a soft penalty award which allowed the hosts to equalize 15 minutes from the spot after Maxi Moralez had put the visitors ahead.

The Frenchman was also disappointed that his team were not awarded a spot-kick of their own when David Villa’s header appeared to come back off Alex Muyl’s arm late on.

Although Jesse Marsch’s men struck the woodwork twice on either side of halftime and had more clear opportunities, NYCFC’s threat seemed to increase as the night wore on.

The home side’s pressing had forced us to retreat deep into our own half for sections of the game but this approach seemed to take his toll on Red Bulls in the late going and there were definitely spaces for the Boys in Blue to exploit in the dying embers.

That said, Vieira was satisfied with the point and no one in sky blue will have crossed the river back to the five boroughs feeling too disappointed with the final score, especially considering the two games that came before…

READ: Match Recap – NYCFC 1-1 Red Bulls

The Series

We had already won the Hudson River Derby series before a ball was kicked at Red Bull Arena but NYCFC returned to the city undefeated through three MLS Regular Season games.

Following a difficult run against our neighbors in the first two seasons of our existence, a 2-0-1 record for 2017 signposts great progress and a real sense that there’s a bright future ahead in this rivalry.

A series sweep would have been nice but we’ve got to leave ourselves something to look forward to in the coming years, right?

We’ll Meet Again?

It was the fourth time NYCFC and Red Bulls have locked horns in 2017 but it might not be the last…

While we will take nothing for granted, if current form holds, NYCFC will secure a second consecutive appearance in the MLS Playoffs in November where they might once again take on a familiar foe…

Could we be set for a first-ever postseason Hudson River Derby? That was the topic which dominated the post-match interviews in the locker rooms.

For eternal buster-of-bubbles (both on and off the field) Alex Ring, it’s fair to say that it doesn’t really matter who we would face…

Ring told reporters: “Of course, it would probably be something special in the playoffs. I understand that from your guys’ point of view and the fans, but for me I really don’t care. I came here to win and whoever stands in the way has to go.”

Fair enough.

READ:Villa Describes Spain Recall as “Dream Come True”

Lightning Almost Strikes Twice

Can you even imagine if this had gone in?

On the day Villa earned his recall to the Spain National Team, he came so, so close to celebrating his call-up with a second goal from the midfield this season.

Almost a carbon copy of his halfway line goal against Philadelphia, Villa had Luis Robles backpedaling and the Red Bulls ‘keeper might not have got there if the shot had been just a few inches lower.

As it was, David had to settle for his ninth assist of 2017, deliciously teeing up Moralez with an improvised flick in behind the Red Bulls defense.

Man of the Match?

Ben Sweat loves a derby, it seems…

He scored the game-clinching goal last time these teams met at Red Bull Arena in June and, while the Floridian defender didn’t have a chance to replicate that this time around, he did produce another excellent performance on both sides of the ball.

It’s easy to forget now that Ben came to NYCFC without a single MLS appearance and as a trialist in January, such has been his impact since his debut against Columbus Crew in April.

Solid in the tackle, tactically intelligent and athletic enough to both defend and get forward to decisive effect, he’s been a revelation this campaign and deserves recognition for the high level of consistency he’s shown in his first season on the team.

Five Things: True Grit Sees NYCFC Through -