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What you need to know

Messi & Argentina end Canada's Copa América run

Canada's Cinderella run at the 2024 Copa América ended Tuesday night with a 2-0 semifinal loss to defending champions Lionel Messi and Argentina.

Seattle advance to USOC semifinals, Atlanta eliminated

Seattle Sounders FC booked their spot in the US Open Cup semifinals on Tuesday night, while Atlanta United's tournament ended with an upset loss at home. Three more MLS clubs – Sporting Kansas City, FC Dallas and LAFC – will conclude quarterfinal action on Wednesday for the competition that awards a 2025 Concacaf Champions Cup spot, prize money and silverware.

Who has the upper hand in New York?

The New York Red Bulls have earned 36 points through 22 games. New York City FC have earned 35 points through 22 games. One point is all that’s separating the two between a home spot that might become crucial if they meet in Round One of the Audi 2024 MLS Cup Playoffs.

The timeline where we get a Hudson River Derby playoff series is a distinct possibility. The two New York-based clubs have positioned themselves as the best of the rest in the Eastern Conference. They’re not quite good enough to join the best Supporters’ Shield race we’ve seen in years (maybe ever), but not bad enough to be stuck in the bar fight for the East’s final road playoff spots. Charlotte FC are the only other team in their group right now (they could definitely spoil a potential subway series). Ultimately, what’s most important for the New York teams is finishing ahead of each other.

So, who has the upper hand? Let’s explore the Tale of the Tape.


RBNY: 24.9 | NYCFC - 24.8

I want to start here just because I think it’s interesting. FBref keeps a stat that assesses the average age of a team weighted by minutes played. The two youngest teams in MLS this year have been the New Yorks. It doesn’t explain all of it, but it does help us understand some of the more inconsistent moments these teams have experienced. They’re playing the kids. And kids are unpredictable.


RBNY - 1.67 xPts per game, 0.32 g+ differential | NYCFC - 1.54 xPts per game, 0.33 g+ differential

This is another one we can call a wash. You can technically give a slight advantage to the Red Bulls when it comes to American Soccer Analysis’ expected points metric, but ASA’s goals added (g+) metric likes NYCFC just a tiny, tiny bit more. In general, it’s advantage Red Bulls – especially defensively where their 1.19 xG allowed per game is notably better than NYCFC’s 1.4 xGA per game – but NYCFC aren’t that far behind. Additionally, neither team seems set for much regression to the mean either way.

Unfortunately, that means we’ll have to go to the eye test and vibes-based things like…


RBNY - 1 | NYCFC - 0 (for now)

We can look at several factors here, but this might be the most important. Whatever these two teams do during the Secondary Transfer Window will define their stretch run and determine who can get out in front of the other. The thing is, both could add another key piece.

The Red Bulls have an open DP spot alongside Emil Forsberg and Dante Vanzeir. Forsberg has been excellent this year and produced six goals and three assists. Unfortunately, Forsberg has been dealing with injuries and is expected to miss at least the next four weeks. Vanzeir has at least been more effective than last season, but still not all that effective. He has two goals and seven assists on the year. The Red Bulls desperately need to bring in another DP to help out in attack.

NYCFC don’t necessarily need to add a DP in attack. They’re sixth in xG created this year and have even started to find success at striker with Alonso Martínez putting up impressive per-90 numbers. But they could end up adding a DP anyway.

Young DP Talles Magno has fallen completely out of favor. He’s played six total minutes this season after accruing more than 4,500 over the previous two seasons. It wouldn’t shock anyone to see him move elsewhere this summer. At that point, NYCFC would be free to utilize their City Football Group connections and bring in another rising young star.

With both teams separated by so little, it seems whoever gets their next DP signing more immediately correct will have the advantage over the final stretch.

That being said, the Red Bulls currently have more roster work to do in general. Don’t overlook how they sent midfielder Frankie Amaya to Liga MX Toluca. He won’t be easy to replace. Indications are they’ll look to bring in a replacement for Amaya along with a new DP, but the club has tended to underwhelm with their most important signings.

RBNY could get both right, though, and look like a changed team. We just don’t know yet. So maybe we should just rely on something a little more straightforward and MLS-y like…


RBNY - 7 | NYCFC - 5

There you go. That’s probably the deciding factor. Don’t overthink it, right?

Other things

Portland transfer Asprilla to Atlético Nacional: The Portland Timbers have transferred forward Dairon Asprilla to Colombian top-flight side Atlético Nacional. The 32-year-old returns to his native Colombia after a decade with the Timbers, with whom he posted 33g/20a in 203 regular-season appearances. He also tallied 4g/4a in 17 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs matches.

Miami transfer Azcona to Las Vegas Lights: Inter Miami CF have transferred homegrown attacker Edison Azcona to USL Championship side Las Vegas Lights. The 20-year-old’s purchase option was exercised after being on loan with Las Vegas.

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Good luck out there. Everyone loves a surprise.