“I was actually saying this isn’t a goal because I thought it was on the line, but I was hoping it was.” Kyle Duncan, the lone and winning goal scorer for tonight’s New York Derby, recalls. The New York Red Bulls took all three points and a clean sheet against their rivals on the other side of the Hudson River, New York City FC. Both teams had something to prove, after disappointing performances at the MLS is Back tournament, but only one succeeded. “I think that our team has good fitness. We finished the game strong,” Red Bulls’ coach Chris Armas reflects. “[The] guys had the right mentality to finish the 90 minutes.” The stakes were high but the expectations were less so, especially given that it was the first rivalry game in the NYC area this year, and it showed in an overall lackluster performance from both teams. Referring to it as early in the season, as many have done, is true and also false. It’s hard to judge with nothing being predictable or normal, from practices, to gaps in play, to games without fans in the stands. But let’s take it for what it was, we are all lucky to have league play in our home market again, as abnormal as it is.
After a fairly even first half, Kyle Duncan scored in the 59th minute to give the New York Red Bulls a 1-0 lead over NYCFC. NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson grabbed Duncan’s shot but a video review showed that the ball crossed the goal line. The remainder of the second half left NYCFC struggling to even get a shot on goal. New York Red Bulls improved to 3-2-1. NYCFC dropped to 1-5-0. While the home team came away with a much-needed three points to still stay alive for playoffs, Armas admits there’s a lot of work still to do. “We’re a team that’s built for transition.”
Photo Credit – Juan Pena