New York City FC take on Red Bulls at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night.
Here’s the Major Keys to the Match, presented by Tri-State Ford…
It’s almost here… the final Regular Season Hudson River Derby of 2018.
Red Bulls make the voyage over the river for a match which will decide the seasonal series, with both sides enjoying one home win to date this year each.
Following a well-documented, unhappy start to this rivalry for the Blues, results in recent years have been more favorable for the Blues with City enjoying wins in three of the last five derbys, following a streak of just one win in the first six.
This would be our second consecutive derby series win if we can pull off, but it won’t be easy for many reasons…
The task vs. an in-form Red Bulls side is made all the more difficult by our numerous absentees.
City had a rough night of it in Philly in more ways than one, with Jesus Medina and Alexander Callens picking up injuries which rule them out of this game, while Ronald Matarrita also accrued a costly suspension for his late red card.
That last one was a real blow to Domènec Torrent, who has since hinted that he had a special role in mind for Mata on Wednesday but the NYCFC boss has shown he has a flair for thinking up innovative solutions, especially in the BX where he’s enjoyed a hot start (4W 1D).
Already without Valentin Castellanos, Cedric Hountondji and Yangel Herrera, the whole squad will have to dig deep for this one.
All the Ingredients
The visitors had looked to be going down to a defeat in Vancouver last weekend until they found the late leveler with time running out to snatch a 2-2 draw.
That preserved an impressive away record of 1.7 points per road game, showing just how strong our opponents have been away from Harrison this year.
At the same time, no team has taken more points at home than NYCFC (67), so this one is set up perfectly for a derby day classic.
NYCFC had to overcome Red Bulls without their skipper earlier in the season but not this time.
El Guaje scored a hat-trick last time he laced up against our rivals on home turf and he should be hitting top condition after coming back from a ten-game injury absence for this one.
With all the afore-mentioned absentees, and against a physical, tenacious Red Bulls side, Villa’s experience will be key as he carries New York into battle for a crucial encounter.
Even more important to NYCFC than local bragging rights are the three points themselves.
With the Eastern Conference and Supporters’ Shield race looking like a three-way battle, this is a real six-pointer for the Boys in Blue, who can inflict damage on one of their positional rivals and leapfrog Red Bulls to move within a point of the leaders, Atlanta.
All the incentive in the world to get the BX bouncing once again... and on a school night, too!