The Hudson River Derby against the Red Bulls is upon us as a fierce rivalry writes another chapter.
For this edition of ‘The Away End’, we spoke to Mark Fishkin, a 26-year MLS season ticket holder and creator and co-host of The Seeing Red Podcast, which has been providing Red Bulls fans with weekly coverage of their team since 2010.
What’s been your favorite moment covering the team?
The Shield seasons for sure, but also the run-up to the 2017 US Open Cup Final, just the third final the team has played in. The squad was full of veterans, who fought back from two goals down in the Semi in Cincinnati to win after extra time.
This has been Gerhard Struber's first full season with the club. How would you evaluate the team's 2021 campaign?
New York has clearly reset the team's focus to that of a football factory. More than half the roster is 23 or younger. Through that lens, and with the roster turnover we've had, New York fans were expecting a step back. Even so, the results have been disappointing since mid-June. Struber needs to pick the team back above the line to call the season a success.
This is our first meeting this season, what to you makes the Hudson River Derby such a special occasion?
For two teams that share an arena (wink), finally meeting on the field at the same time should be great. Given that communities across the Metro area cheer for both teams, playing for bragging rights is always special.
From a tactical standpoint, what strengths should Ronny Deila and his team be wary of heading into the game?
The Red Bulls get so much out of their wingbacks, Delia should play centrally to keep the ball from them. Funneling New York's play through the middle will disrupt the Red Bulls' attack.
Are there any areas you think the Red Bulls can improve?
New York's forward play has been very disappointing over the mid-summer. Fabio and Patryk Klimala are trying so hard to be difference-makers that every scoring chance becomes an attempt at something spectacular (a bike, a dummy) that goes for naught. They need to play face to goal, and take (and make) the routine shots.
If you were to identify the Red Bulls’ danger-man, who would that be?
Right now it's 18-year-old Homegrown wingback/midfielder John Tolkin, who has grown tremendously as a player this season. Tolkin, who scored the goal in Wednesday's win over Columbus, plays with a confident maturity of players many years older. As a homegrown, he understands the meaning of this derby match. He has a massive future ahead of him.
And finally, how do you see Saturday’s game going?
City is in such a good way right now, even with the loss to Philadelphia. By resting his top midfielders, Delia will provide his more experienced squad a leg up on the Red Bulls midfield corps, who have struggled to create quality scoring opportunities. Anything can happen, of course, but I'm expecting City to pick up three points in their second home.