Heber brace leads NYCFC over Red Bulls in preseason opener

A preseason edition of the Hudson River Derby went New York City FC's way Sunday, as Heber's brace powered the Cityzens to a 3-1 win over the New York Red Bulls during a scrimmage in Orlando, Fla.

Samuel Kwaku Owusu netted an insurance goal in the second half to complete the scoring for the MLS Cup 2021 champions, while homegrown forward Zach Ryan scored the lone goal for RBNY.

Heber scored twice in the first half, a positive sign for the Brazilian striker as he continues his return from an ACL injury that limited him to 95 minutes in seven regular-season games last year.

A pair of homegrowns accounted for the rest of the scoring, with Kwaku adding NYCFC's third in the second half. The defender was signed to an MLS homegrown contract earlier this week after featuring for NYCFC's U-16 GA Cup and U-18/19 Development Academy Championship teams.

Ryan, a 22-year-old New Jersey native, pulled one back for the Red Bulls in his first action since turning pro this week. Ryan played for RBNY's academy from 2013-17, helping earn three straight Northeast Division championships from 2013-15 before heading to Pac-12 program Stanford.

NYCFC will remain in Orlando until Jan. 29 before departing to Cancun, Mexico for the remainder of camp ahead of their Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 opener against Costa Rican side Santos de Guápiles FC on Feb. 15.

RBNY will return to New Jersey at the end of the month before heading to California for the duration of their preseason schedule, where they'll compete in the inaugural Coachella Valley Invitational hosted by the LA Galaxy. The exhibition tournament will also feature D.C. United, LAFC and Seattle Sounders FC.

Head coach Gerhard Struber's side begins their 2022 MLS campaign with a road matchup against the San Jose Earthquakes on Feb. 26.