HARRISON, N.J. – New York Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch did lots of talking leading up to Sunday's New York Derby match with New York City FC, wondering aloud if referees favor NYCFC's trio of international stars. MLS Commissioner Don Garber fined Marsch for his remarks.
After the match, a 4-1 Red Bulls victory, it was NYCFC coach Patrick Vieira's time to do some talking. During the postgame press conference, the first-year manager had some pointed words for Marsch, referee Mark Geiger, and the entire officiating crew, suggesting that Marsch's comments during the week influenced the referee.
"I think today [Geiger] made more decisions in favor of the Red Bulls because the manager has been crying all the week. At the end, [Marsch] got what he wanted. . . . It didn’t just happen like that. This is a plan, this is a way I think [Marsch] wanted to go for. He got fined for it, which means he did something wrong. You can accept it or not, but that had an impact on the referee's decisions. It’s as simple as that.”
Vieira's frustrations surfaced early on in the match, after several tight offside calls did not go NYCFC's way and the Red Bulls mounted a 2-0 lead. Vieira was sent from the touchline during the mandated first-half hydration break after leaving his technical area to yell at Geiger and fourth official Jose Carlos Rivero. He also exchanged a few words with Marsch before walking through the tunnel.
Vieira said NYCFC didn’t address Marsch’s comments during the week because “this is not the way we want to do things.”
“We have the full respect of the referee. We do understand that sometimes decisions are difficult to make from the referee,” Vieira said. “One day, it’s for us and one day it’s against us. We understand it and we respect it. Some people don’t and they prefer to cry openly. . . . It worked for them this time.”
Marsch clearly saw the officiating crews' performance differently.
“I thought Geiger was fantastic, and that’s not just because we won and not just because I said something in the press,” he said. “I think he had a very good clean game, where there really weren’t many mystery calls or doubts or where things were going. There was one that maybe deflected out for a corner or maybe a foul, a little ticky-tack foul here and there, but it's hard to argue with that performance. I think it’s maybe the best that we’ve seen of the year.”
Regarding Vieira himself, Marsch said his counterpart didn’t say anything to him as he headed down the tunnel in the first half or after the game.
“He didn’t want to shake my hand in the hallway,” Marsch said. “But I’ve seen this from him after the game before. It’s not a problem. I’m going to focus on us. I think the game was decided by players and in every way our players put a big imprint on the game.”
During the press conference, Vieira was asked about the apparent tension between the two coaches.
"We are completely different as a person and as a character," Vieira said. "He's acting one way and I'm acting a different way. This is part of the derby. He wants to win. I want to win. Sometimes there's tension. I think there are two different clubs acting in different ways. This is part of the derby."