NYCFC Inches Closer To First Place With Win Over Red Bulls

NYCFC, Red Bulls
NYCFC’s Heber controls the ball against the New York Red Bulls. Photo: Dennis Schneidler-USA Today Sports

The renewal of the Hudson River Derby Saturday night in the Bronx had a bit of everything as New York City FC walked away with a 2-1 win over the New York Red Bulls.

As has been seen in prior matchups between the two teams over the past five years, the latest edition of the rivalry at Yankee Stadium was a spirited match with both sides battling for a much-needed three points to improve playoff position.

In addition to the three goals scored, New York City hit the crossbar and two posts were awarded a penalty kick and had Ronald Matarrita sent off two minutes into stoppage time for violent behavior.

“I said this week that everybody has to defend, without that it’s impossible to beat the Red Bulls, and they did it, and that is the reason why I’m very happy,” said Doménec Torrent, NYCFC’s head coach. “I thought we deserved to win the game and I’m very happy for everybody because their effort was fantastic.”

The 28,895 in attendance would see the Red Bulls strike first. In the 10th minute, New York native Alex Muyl would play a one-two with Kaku and rifle a shot past NYCFC keeper Sean Johnson for a 1-0 lead.

But the home side would soon begin to control the run of play. In the 19th minute, a well-struck header by Valentin Castellanos beat Red Bulls keeper Luis Robles but found the crossbar. In the 36th minute, Héber would put his laces through a shot from about 20 yards out that rattled the post to Robles’ left. 

Seven minutes later, New York City would get on the scoreboard. Maxi Moralez was fouled in the box by Michael Murillo, and Moralez would convert from the spot to level the match at 1.

NYCFC would maintain its momentum following halftime. In the 48th minute, Castellanos was once again denied by the woodwork. However, five minutes later, New York City would take the lead. Anton Tinnerholm made a run parallel to the touchline and found Héber, whose backheel snuck between the legs of Robles and into the back of the net.

With the win, NYCFC remains in third place with 47 points in the Eastern Conference sitting six points ahead of the fourth-place Red Bulls. New York City is also a point behind second-place Philadelphia Union and first-place Atlanta United with games in hand over all Eastern Conference teams currently in playoff position.