"Morale," three points at stake as New York City FC cross the Hudson for first-ever Red Bulls derby

PURCHASE, N.Y. – Call it a rivalry, a derby, a clásico. David Villa has played in some of the biggest in the world and knows how important the first-ever match between New York City FC and the New York Red Bulls is.

“Clásicos are the same sensation for all the players and the fans,” said Villa, who expects to be able to play the entire 90 minutes Sunday. “Obviously it’s three points, but for the fans it’s very, very different because they want to win this game. The victory gives you three points, but it gives you so much more for afterwards, especially for morale.”

Villa, who scored for Barcelona against Real Madrid in El Clásico, said there’s no time like the present for the expansion team to break their schneid.

“We need the three points,” Villa said. “It’s seven games that we haven’t won so we have to win a game to be able to change these bad sensations. There’s no better way of doing it than a local derby, the first time in history. We’ve worked very hard during the week.”

Although it’s on a different level than Barcelona-Real Madrid, Mix Diskerud has played in some big Norwegian derbies during his time with Stabæk and Rosenborg in the Tippeligaen, especially against Valerenga and Lillestrom. He said they are some of the “coolest games and the ones you’re looking forward to.”

“I scored some goals in those rivalries,” he said. “It’s fun because for the passionate supporters it’s special. They can go out and have a good time afterwards awhile we go home and rest and get ready for the next week and the next game.”

Although there’s no history between NYCFC and the Red Bulls, Diskerud is confident this derby is one that will heat up pretty quickly.

“We want to make it something special. It helps soccer here in the states,” Diskerud said. “Having games like this its cool in the Eastern Conference because there’s going to be three of them in each and every year. Usually it’s two, but it’s even better when it’s three.”

“It means a lot to the fans,” Diskerud added. “And of course it means a lot to us.”