Six Takeaways As The New York Red Bulls Bounce Back To Defeat NYCFC 4-1


Coming off their first ever defeat New York City, the New York Red Bulls were able to redeem themselves by winning 4-1 over their local rivals. It’s a satisfying result for a side that has been looking up at NYCFC in the standings for most of the season.

The Red Bulls Came Out As The Aggressor And Sustained Dominance

After both sides had periods of sustained possession in the opening minutes, the Red Bulls began to dictate the match by winning the midfield battle. With NYCFC pinned in their own half, the Red Bulls began to find holes in their opponent’s defense through a series of measured passes. With NYCFC looking to absorb pressure on the road, the Red Bulls effectively utilized home-field advantage on their big pitch.

“We wanted to press them,” said Jesse Marsch in regards to how they were able to keep NYCFC so pinned back in their won half. “We wanted to go after them. We didn’t want to sit back. We wanted to have them play through us. They’ve showed that’s what they are sticking to. We were making sure that in all ways we going to be on top of the game. We knew that they like to pass in their own end and we like to pass in our opponent’s end. It meant that a lot of the game was going to be played in that end of the field but the key was when there were breakdowns, not to let ourselves be exposed behind us. I think on the day we did a really good job with it.”

The passing paid off in the 20th minute when forward Bradley Wright-Phillips opened the scoring after he got through on goal in the middle. Sacha Kljestan set up Wright-Phillips who found the back of the net with a clinical low finish. The goal summed up the first half as the Red Bulls maintained constant possession on an NYCFC side that couldn’t get the ball out of their own half of the field.

When asked what was different about the Red Bulls today as compared to the previous match against them, NYCFC manager Patrick Vieira attributed it to refereeing decisions and a matter of desire.

“Firstly, influencing the referee during the week,” said Vieira in regards to what was different about the Red Bulls today (Vieira’s remarks were in reference to remarks made by Marsch during the past week before the match). I think that has a massive part on the game. Secondly, they wanted it more than us. I think we didn’t show enough to get past them like we did at home. I think when we had the ball, I was quite happy with the way we played. But I’m really unhappy with the way we worked as a team without the ball. I think that’s how we let ourselves down and we made it a little easier for them.”

The Red Bulls Took Advantage Of Set Pieces

With the Red Bulls out in front, it only took them three minutes to double their lead. After the Red Bulls got a corner in the 23rd minute, Kljestan whipped the ball into the box for Ronald Zubar to head into the back of the net. Kljestan produced his league-leading twelth assist as the Red Bulls were cruising with over 58% possession in the first half.

The situation only grew worse for NYCFC in the 40th minute when Frederic Brillant handled the ball in his own box which was called on for a penalty. Kljestan assuredly dispatched his shot as he sent Josh Saunders the wrong way on the penalty.

While the Red Bulls dominated in terms of possession and shots, their composure and ability on set pieces is what blew open the match.

Tommy McNamara Gave NYCFC Life With A Stunning Strike

With Patrick Vieira ejected from the match following reported irresponsible behavior during the water break in the first half and down three goals, NYCFC was left in a precarious position on the road. Yet, just when they needed it most, Tommy McNamara stunned the crowd with a long-range strike that Luis Robles had no chance of stopping as it sailed into the top corner.

McNamara’s goal, which came two minutes after Kljestan’s penalty, was vital for NYCFC who needed a quick goal to get back into the match. They needed to have some momentum ahead of the second half in order to overcome a steep deficit.

Both Sides Nearly Scored Off Long-Distance Efforts In the 2nd Half

The Red Bulls continued to hold onto the ball during the second half in an attempt to control the match. They nearly scored when midfielder Felipe hit the top of the bar with a shot from outside the box. The ball, which looked like it may have been deflected by NYCFC, menacingly landed on top of the bar before going out of play.

While NYCFC wasn’t creating many opportunities, they were extremely unlucky when McNamara nearly scored again from another long-range effort. After the midfielder produced a curler that hit the top of the post, Frank Lampard got himself in position to score off the rebound in the middle of the box. However, while the midfielder normally gets himself in great positions in the box to score, the ball bounced just over him which killed the chance.

Bradley Wright-Phillips Sealed The Win Off A Lightning Quick Goal

After the Red Bulls had dominated the possession totals of the match, Wright-Phillips sealed the win with a goal that went against how the team was playing. Instead of another methodical goal, the Red Bulls surprisingly scored off a goal kick.

Off a Red Bull goal kick, the ball was headed down towards Wright-Phillips who was running in stride on NYCFC’s goal. The Red Bulls striker got his 11th goal of the season after he evaded Saunders who dived in vain to the ground. Wright-Phillips finished off the chance by creating enough space to get past Saunders and score on an open goal.

The Satisfaction Of Beating A Rival When They Are At Their Best

In the aftermath of the Red Bulls’ 7-0 battering of NYCFC, Bradley Wright-Phillips spoke about how he wanted to enjoy the win because NYCFC would eventually have their moment. After beating NYCFC again this season following their first ever defeat to them recently, Wright-Phillips enjoyed winning over NYCFC considering how well they have been playing.

“Of course they are a good team,” said Wright-Phillips. “Look at the players they have. They’re not top of the league for no reason. This is a team that has the top goal-scorer in the league and world’s best players at times. So it was always going to be tough to be beat them. We’ve obviously had the better of it. They were always going to win a game but it was good to beat them when everyone was talking about NYCFC. It’s good to beat them when they are top of the league. It’s good at this period of time when they are the best team in the East compared to last year when it was always going to be tough for them after they just entered the league. So it was good to win the seasonal series considering how well they are doing.”

Wright-Phillips most consistent provider, Kljestan, shared the striker’s thoughts on how beating NYCFC when they are playing well is important especially considering that these two could end up playing against each other again in the playoffs.

“We know now they are a very good team in the East, that’s for sure,” said Kljestan. “They’ve proven that over the first half of the season. They’ve shown to be a lot better than last season. This could be a team that we could meet in the playoffs so we have a lot of respect for them.”

Photo Credit: Leo Rodriguez/Metro Soccer Nation