Competition: Major League Soccer – New York Red Bulls vs. New York City FC
Venue: Red Bull Arena – Saturday, June 24 – 13:30 ET (18:30 BST)
Match Odds: NY Red Bulls 5/6 – Draw 13/5 – NYCFC 14/5
New York Red Bulls host New York City FC in the first New York Derby of the 2017 MLS season on Saturday afternoon in one of the standout fixtures of Heineken MLS Rivalry Week.
The Red Bulls come into Saturday’s game off the back of a solid 2-0 win at Philadelphia Union last weekend. They come into this clash in fifth place, just four points behind NYCFC who sit third in the Eastern Conference.
The home side know they are the favourites here, given their impressive record over their noisy neighbours over the past two seasons. They have won all three MLS games at home to New York City to date, including a 1-0 victory 12 months ago in the only regular season battle in New Jersey.Embed from Getty Images
The added boost for the Red Bulls is that their last game on home soil saw them beat NYCFC less than two weeks ago in the US Open Cup. They have only lost once at home all season and are expected to put the visitors to the sword again here.
But New York City have the advantage of coming into the game four points clear of their rivals and in good form themselves. Patrick Vieira’s men came from behind to beat Seattle Sounders 2-1 last weekend and are now unbeaten in three-straight league games.
The worry for the visitors is that their away form isn’t all that impressive. They have lost three of their last four away from Yankee Stadium – including that Open Cup defeat – and have won just one away game since April.Embed from Getty Images
If either side can take all three points from this one, they will put themselves in a really strong position to kick on and challenge for the Supporters’ Shield over the second-half of the campaign. There has yet to ever be a draw between the two rivals.
This will be actually be the third meeting between the two clubs in 2017, but the first in Major League Soccer. As well as their cup battle this month, the pair met in the Desert Diamond Cup during preseason preparations, with a Sacha Kljestan brace enough to see the Red Bulls win 2-0 on that occasion.Embed from Getty Images
New York Red Bulls have had to prepare for this huge game without head coach Jesse Marsch, as he has been in Poland, continuing work on his UEFA Pro Licence Course. Gideon Baah remains the only long-term absentee for the Red Bulls on the field, while Connor Lade and Mike Grella are doubts but are officially listed as ‘probable’.
New York City FC travel to Red Bull Arena without three key players as Ronald Matarrita, Maxi Moralez and Khiry Shelton are all ruled out with injuries. Ethan White is one booking away from suspension and will need to watch his step.
NY Red Bulls’ form: L/D/W/L/W
NYCFC’s form: W/L/D/W/W
Key Stat: Including their US Open Cup win less than two weeks ago, the New York Red Bulls have beaten New York City in all four of their clashes at Red Bull Arena to date, outscoring their local rivals 9-2 in that time.
Key Player: Bradley Wright-Phillips – The Red Bulls star striker has started to find some form, having scored four in his last four MLS outings. He netted his first brace of the season in last weekend’s 2-0 win at Philadelphia and has a great goalscoring record against NYCFC in MLS. He has played in every Hudson River Derby to date, scoring eight goals in six games against Saturday’s visitors.Embed from Getty Images
New York Red Bulls 3-1 New York City FC – This is a big game for both sides but injuries to key players means NYCFC’s chances of getting their first points away at their local rivals is unlikely. They still have the attacking quality to hurt the Red Bulls but ultimately, the home side’s strong form in this rivalry is poised to continue.