In arguably the most important Hudson River Derby to date, NYCFC made a strong start to the game, playing longer than usual in an attempt to counteract the Red Bulls’ press.
From the first minute, it was clear that this would be the most attritional derby to date, with heavy challenges coming in from both sides and no end of flashpoints.
Tyler Adams was fortunate to escape any punishment for a waist-high challenge on Alex Ring early on but that wouldn’t be the last controversial moment in this game.
In terms of chances, it was Sean Johnson who was called into action first, making a phenomenal fingertip save from Bradley Wright-Phillips’ snapshot on the turn on 19′.
David Villa was next to threaten with a rifled volley into the sidenetting following a sublime control on the edge of the box.
Red Bulls seized the advantage just before the interval through NYCFC’s old nemesis, Wright Phillips, who headed home at the back post leaving Johnson no chance on 37′.
It was a slightly harsh scoreline on City at the break, considering the Blues had asked just as many questions of the opposition but were unable to find a way past Luis Robles.
A tough ask for the second period got even tougher when Eloi Amagat was shown a straight red card for a challenge in the center of the pitch, leaving NYCFC Head Coach Domènec Torrent down a man and a goal at the interval.
Despite the man disadvantage, NYCFC rallied after the break and deservedly found the equalizer through the captain on 52’.
It was a brilliant set-up from second half substitute Jo Inge Berget, who headed the ball back for Villa to volley under Robles.
Just when City were pushing on for the win, Ebenezer Ofori was shown a highly controversial red card on VAR, with the officials judging that the Ghanaian deliberately stepped on Wright-Phillips’ achilles, despite the fact he was looking in another direction.
It looked harsh and the majority of the 30,000 inside Yankee certainly agreed with the disapproval reaching new decibels when referee Ted Unkel decided that Kemar Lawrence’s strike at Anton TInnerholm’s neck was only a yellow card offense.
Chances followed for both teams, including a golden opportunity for Rodney Wallace to win it but, after eight crazy end-to-end minutes of stoppage-time, Unkel brought an end to the most hotly-contested Hudson River Derby to date.
It might not be the last of 2018…
NYCFC.com Star of the Game
These nights you need your big players to step up and deliver performances and that’s just what Villa did.
Not only did David score the equalizing goal, he was everywhere on the night, running down defenders, linking play and stretching the Red Bulls’ backline through.
This fire still burns as bright and hot as ever for NYCFC’s first signing.
The Boys in Blue take a little break from action before returning on September 1 with a visit to Columbus. We’re back in the BX on September 5 when New England are the visitors.
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