HARRISON, N.J. – History was bound to be made on Sunday night as the New York Red Bulls and New York City FC squared off for the first time.
The win snapped the Red Bulls’ three-game winless streak, while extending NYCFC’s to eight.
In the first installment of this as-yet-unnamed derby matchup, the Red Bulls wasted little time to establishing the tone. In just the fourth minute, RBNY found themselves in front courtesy of a strike from last season’s MLS Golden Boot winner.
Winger Lloyd Sam collected the ball at the edge of the 18-yard box before running right at NYCFC fullback RJ Allen. Sam sprinted for the byline after shaking off his marker and found an unmarked Wright-Phillips in front of the goal for an easy half-volley.
NYCFC thought they had leveled the match in the 20th minute as New York native Chris Wingert redirected a free kick past Luis Robles and into the net, but the linesman flagged for offside, much to the chagrin of the traveling NYCFC fans.
The visitors were given a lifeline in the 36th minute as the Red Bulls were reduced to 10 men following Miazga’s second yellow card. After a late sliding challenge on forward Khiry Shelton in the 18th minute, the two once again got tangled up, this time near midfield, as referee Alan Kelly sent the young defender to an early shower.
Looking to make the most of their man advantage, New York City came out of the locker room looking to test the Red Bulls defense, but soon found themselves in an even deeper hole.
After Allen headed Sam’s shot away from an open goal in the 50th minute, the Red Bulls hit out on a counter to double their advantage.
Sam charged into the attacking third with acres of space before hitting a switch to Sacha Kljestan on the left flank. Wright-Phillips was once again unmarked in the six-yard box as Kljestan’s square ball was tapped past a helpless Josh Saunders in the 51st minute.
Wright-Phillips had a chance for a hat trick just 15 minutes later as the Red Bulls forward raced in one-on-one with Saunders. Electing not to pass to a wide-open Damien Perrinelle to his right, the Englishman aimed for his hat trick, but Saunders was equal to the task with a clutch block from close range.
NYCFC would finally respond in the 76th minute as Allen turned provider. His low curling cross from the left wing whistled through the Red Bulls penalty area, where substitute Patrick Mullins got the final touch to cut the NYCFC deficit in half.
The remaining quarter of an hour saw New York City bomb forward in search of an equalizer, but the Red Bulls defense held firm to secure all three points.
Both teams return to action on Friday night, as the Red Bulls take on FC Dallas in Frisco while New York City FC head back to the Bronx for a matchup with the Chicago Fire.