New York Red Bulls vs. New York City FC | 2017 MLS Match Preview
New York Red Bulls vs. New York City FC
2017 MLS Regular Season
Red Bull Arena – Harrison, N.J.
Saturday, June 24 – 1:30 pm ET
WATCH: FOX, FOX Deportes (USA) | MLS LIVE (CAN)
Hey, didn't we just have this rivalry game? Yes and no.
The New York Red Bulls did beat New York City FC 1-0 in the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup last week, but Saturday's match at Red Bull Arena will be the first of three regular-season meetings between the two sides in MLS play this season. It's a series the MLS originals have dominated, winning six of seven matches across all competitions since NYCFC came in as an expansion club in 2015.
NYCFC have some work to do to even out the rivalry, clearly – but in 2016 MLS MVP David Villa, second in the Golden Boot race on 10 goals, they definitely have someone capable of stepping up in a big match and getting the job done. Then again, in Bradley Wright-Phillips (eight goals so far in 2017), the Red Bulls also have a proven offensive threat – and not just in league play this season, but over the course of the series as well.
How proven? BWP has eight goals against NYCFC, including three two-goal outings. That proven.
Star power, firepower and bragging rights – what more could you want?
New York Red Bulls
Fresh off his Team of the Week nod, Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles could be the key to New York coming out on top again.
It's a matter of math: Robles has conceded 21 times this year, but he's also third in MLS with 54 saves and has faced 77 shots, fourth-most in the league. Villa, meanwhile, is MLS' most prolific shot-taker by far, having a go 67 times and putting 27 of those on frame. If Robles has an off game, his side could walk away with nothing.
(NYRB's -4 goal differential should be concerning for the home side in the long run, too. They're currently fifth in the Eastern Conference, but it's tough to stay in the playoff field when you're giving up more goals than you're scoring.)
- Suspended: None
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT – D Gideon Baah (broken leg – out for season); PROBABLE: D Connor Lade (knee injury); M Mike Grella (undisclosed injury)
Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1, right to left): Luis Robles – Michael Murillo, Aurlien Collin, Damien Perrinelle, Aaron Long – Tyler Adams, Felipe – Daniel Royer, Sacha Kljestan, Alex Muyl – Bradley Wright-Phillips
Notes: After having their 19 game home unbeaten streak snapped by LA on May 14th, the Red Bulls have bounced back going unbeaten in their last two home matches (1W-1D). … Gonzalo Veron had two assists against Philadelphia last weekend, after only having one assist in his first 41 regular season MLS appearances. This season, the Red Bulls average 2.3 goals per 90 minutes played with Veron on the field (156 minutes). In the 1,387 minutes they have played without him, that number falls down to 0.8 goals scored per 90 minutes played.
New York City FC
Let's keep continuity and stay with the 'keeper theme, as NYCFC's Sean Johnson is likely to be called upon quite a bit on Saturday.
SeanJohn's 1.25 goals-against average is certainly credible, and he leads Robles (1.33 GAA) by a narrow margin in that category. He's faced 15 fewer shots than Robles this year, though – and his 66.1 percent save rate is four points off Robles'
Granted, that might not seem like a lot – and NYCFC's defense is certainly outperforming the Red Bulls in terms of conceding opportunities – but BWP, sixth in the league with 49 shots and putting almost 43 percent of those on frame, is going to get his chances. Any lapse in goal could prove decisive.
- Suspended: None
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT – F Khiry Shelton (hamstring injury), M Maxi Moralez (calf injury), D Ronald Matarrita (undisclosed injury)
Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1, right to left): Sean Johnson – R.J. Allen, Maxime Chanot, Alexander Callens, Ben Sweat – Alex Ring, Yangel Herrera – Rodney Wallace, Jack Harrison, Tommy McNamara – David Villa
Notes: NYCFC have lost two of their last three on the road (1W). In all three of NYCFC’s wins on the road this season they have scored at least two goals. … David Villa’s brace last weekend (off seven shots) was the 13th time he has scored multiple goals in an MLS game since joining the league. In eight of those 13 games, he required five or less total shots.
All-Time Series and Rivalry History
As already noted, New York is red – at least in the results from this series. The Red Bulls have won five MLS matches to NYCFC's one, and are unbeaten on their side of the Hudson. The series has yet to see a draw.
Some notable moments from the rivalry:
- The series opened on May 10, 2015, with Wright-Phillips scoring a brace in the Red Bulls' 2-1 victory. He found the net in the first match at Yankee Stadium as well, scoring once as NYRB won 3-1 on June 28, 2015.
- Wright-Phillips and Dax McCarty both turned in two-goal performances in the most lopsided match of the series, the Red Bulls' 7-0 home rout on May 21, 2016.
- Just 13 days after that, NYCFC's only victory in the series (2-0 at Yankee Stadium) came as Villa scored his only goal so far in the series.
- On June 14, Daniel Royer's goal delivered the Red Bulls' victory in the first Open Cup meeting between the two sides.
- Overall: NY 5 wins (18 goals) … NYC 1 win (5 goals) … Ties 0
- At NY: NY 3 wins (8 goals) … NYC 0 wins (2 goals) … Ties 0
- Referee: Alan Kelly
- Senior Assistant Referee, near side: Matthew Nelson
- Junior Assistant Referee, far side: Adam Wienckowski
- 4th Official: Marcos DeOliveira