The Bronx, NY (Aug. 6, 2017)- It was not the most elegant of soccer matches, but New York City FC and the New York Red Bulls certainly put on a show in the latest edition of the New York Derby. The game was highlighted by fouls and sloppy play, but a back and forth, goal-scoring affair was in order Sunday night. The Red Bulls fell to their cross-town rivals by the score of 3-2, and missed out on an opportunity to move past them in the Eastern Conference table.
David Villa Hat Trick Vaults NYCFC to Win Over New York Red Bulls: RECAP
Jesse Marsch answered the Kemar Lawrence questions with the starting XI he put out in the Bronx. Lawrence was inserted into the left wing back position in his first game since the last time they played NYCFC. In addition, Marsch started Damien Perrinelle at the right center back spot instead of Michael Amir Murillo who started there in the win against Montreal. One last note on the lineup: Sean Davis and Daniel Royer lined up on opposite sides from where they have started the past few matches.
In the 11th minute, Royer went down with a clear knee injury and did not return to the game. Luckily for the Red Bulls, it seems as though the injury may be less severe than it looked and sounded.
Daniel Royer had x-rays on his knee which came back negative. Red Bulls hoping it's just hyperextended #RBNY
However, RBNY did suffer on the offensive front without him. Alex Muyl came in and pressed well, disrupting New York City’s play up the wing. It was clear that they were missing some attacking prowess, and more responsibility fell to Bradley Wright-Phillips to score goals. Losing Royer certainly affected the game but his long term health is more important to the team.
What Went Wrong
While the result does not reflect this, the Red Bulls played a solid game for the most part. They were arguably the better team for most of the 90 minutes. As for the problem areas, the right wing and central defense stand out. Tyler Adams and Alex Muyl were barely involved in the game, and this pass map demonstrates how little the ball went through that right flank.
Without being strong on both sidelines, RBNY could not execute their game plan to the maximum.
Aaron Long has been one of the best players and the most consistent center back for the Red Bulls this year. On Sunday, fans finally saw his worst match of the year. Granted, Long was handed the enormous responsibility as a rookie to mark one of the most dangerous men in the league in David Villa, but there were multiple bad mistakes made. He misjudged a couple of long balls, and NYC’s quick offense was able to jump on those opportunities. On Villa’s second goal, Long got turned terribly to open a shooting lane.
This was definitely a valuable learning experience for the New York Red Bulls II product, but the first team suffered for it.
Sunday was not nearly a disaster for those in the Metro camp. The Red Bulls played well and we’re undone almost singlehandedly by a world class player. That being said, a couple decisions may have changed the course of the game.
With the small field and the speed of the City front three, it may have been wise for Marsch to revert to the 4-2-3-1 the team has played with for years. The wing backs they currently use were not effective because they had no room to run. The size of the field allowed quicker counters for City to exploit the defensive line. Had RBNY employed a more traditional back four, it may have congested Villa, Jack Harrison and others.
This would not have been a permanent switch, just a tactical switch for a different kind of game.
The New York Derby is a young match-up, and there will be plenty more just like it. This was a match for the New York Red Bulls to learn from and quickly forget. It was a performance to build on at Red Bull Arena next Saturday against Orlando City SC- a great opportunity to pick up three points.