New York City FC 2, New York Red Bulls 0 | 2016 MLS Match Recap
Finally, for the first time in five tries, New York City have turned the Big Apple blue.
NYCFC knocked off their crosstown rivals the New York Red Bulls 2-0 at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, paced by a goal and an assist from rookie Jack Harrison. The victory marks the Bronx side's first-ever win over RBNY after four humbling losses to start the rivalry's history, and extends NYCFC's winning streak to three games.
Sidelined by injury for most of the season's early stages, Harrison missed his team's painful 7-0 home loss to the Red Bulls on May 21. He needed only eight minutes to stamp a different narrative on this occasion, latching onto Andrea Pirlo's overhit corner kick and beating two defenders with a cheeky “sombrero” before slipping a low strike past goalkeeper Luis Robles at the near post.
Bolstered by the early lead, NYC showed far greater preparedness for the Red Bulls' high press than in previous meetings, building out of the back where possible and matching the visitors' physicality.
After the hosts protected their slender advantage well into the second half, Harrison led a lightning-quick counterattack to ice the result, surging down the right flank before placing a perfect low cross into David Villa's path for a simple tap-in.
A late ejection for Chris Duvall after two yellow cards completed RBNY's misery as the blue-clad masses among the 33,613 in attendance serenaded their team up to, and well after, the final whistle.
- 8' NYC -- Jack Harrison (Andrea Pirlo)
- 66' NYC -- David Villa (Jack Harrison)
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1. JUMPIN' JACK FLASH: Next time you hear someone dismiss the MLS SuperDraft as meaningless, cue up this match and start talking about Jack Harrison. The No. 1 pick in this year's draft has transformed his team's fortunes since becoming a regular starter, offering crucial width, energy and trickery. He tortured the RBNY defense with his skill and movement and he showed a veteran's instincts in leading the counter that ended with Villa's strike.
2. CLASH OF CONTRASTS: Credit to NYC boss Patrick Vieira, who stuck to his guns and refused to go long-ball against the Red Bulls press after it eviscerated his team in the 7-0 disaster earlier this year. This time, Vieira got the Blues playing smarter and tougher without sacrificing the buildup play they're founded upon. They picked their spots, but played ugly when need be, and never let RBNY back into contention as a result.
3. CENTRAL ISSUES: Injuries ravaged the Red Bulls during their woeful start to the campaign, and on Sunday they reared up yet again, with Chris Duvall and Aurelien Collin struggling to keep their shape and discipline. With Duvall out for Sunday's visit from Portland and Ronald Zubar bringing many of the same pros and cons as Collin, coach Jesse Marsch has some tough decisions to make.