The New York Red Bulls and New York City FC will face off for the first time on Sunday, but it will not be the first time the two coaches meet on the field.
Boxscore from the Princeton-Duke game, October 16, 1992. Courtesy of Princeton University
That most likely* occurred in October 16, 1992, when the Princeton Tigers, boasting a freshman midfielder named Jesse Marsch, met the Duke Blue Devils, led by a sophomore striker named Jason Kreis, in the inaugural Lanzera/Sheraton Classic in Charlottesville, Virginia. Both men featured in the game, which ended with a 2-1 Duke victory.
Several years later, both players joined MLS clubs in the league's inaugural season in 1996, and faced each other 27 times until Kreis hung up his cleats to become a coach in 2007.
Jesse Marsch vs. Jason Kreis
(Player: NCAA, MLS, US Open Cup | Coach: MLS)
As the table shows, Marsch got the better of Kreis over the years. But they split their playoff meetings. Kreis’ Dallas Burn defeated Marsch’s Chicago Fire in the 1999 Western Conference Semifinals, and Marsch and the Fire returned the favor in the quarterfinals of the 2001 playoffs.
When Kreis moved to Real Salt Lake’s sideline in May 2007. In Kreis’ first match as a coach against a team with Marsch on the roster, Marsch scored the lone goal for Chivas USA in a 1-0 victory over RSL.
Marsch went on to play coach Kreis three more times as a player, winning two more and losing one, before retiring himself.
The two have met just once as head coaches, when Marsch was the head coach of the Montreal Impact in 2012. Kreis's RSL side defeated the Montreal Impact 1-0 at home.
So who will draw first blood in the #NYvNYC rivalry?
* NOTE: As native Midwesterners, Marsch and Kreis might have played against each other as youngsters in the Region II Olympic Development Program.