HARRISON, N.J. – In case there was any lingering doubt, 2015's kings of New York once again painted the town red for good measure.
In front of a sold out Red Bull Arena, the New York Red Bulls completed the season sweep of expansion side New York City FC 2-0 kicked off by yet another Bradley Wright-Phillips strike. The Englishman has now tallied four times in three matches against the Red Bulls' crosstown rivals.
The victory extends New York’s unbeaten run to five while NYCFC have won just once in their last five matches.
A 21st minute goal from Wright-Phillips got the Red Bulls off and running, but it was the visitors who enjoyed the better of play early in the first half. Just three minutes in, Frank Lampard, making his first start in a NYCFC uniform, had a golden opportunity to give his team the early lead, but his effort missed just wide of the far post.
After the nervy opening, the home side began to assert their dominance. Sacha Kljestan sent a ball to Kemar Lawrence on the left flank, and the Jamaican's long cross made its way to Wright-Phillips in the box, who finished it to give the hosts a lead they wouldn't give up.
The second half saw more back and forth action, with both sides having penalty shouts waved away by referee Ismail Elfath. NYCFC continued to commit more numbers forward, but their attacks frequently stalled out thanks to some well-timed defending. The DP triumvirate of Lampard, David Villa and Andrea Pirlo rarely combined on the night, frustrating many of the 500 traveling supporters in attendance.
Their best chance of the half came in the 70th minute as midfielder Thomas McNamara tested Robles with a curling effort, but the far post effort was punched away to safety as City continued on in search of an equalizer.
Wright-Phillips nearly doubled the Red Bulls' advantage in the 84th minute after being played in to a 1v1 situation with Josh Saunders, but just a minute later, his miss would be avenged. Midfielder Felipe collected a pass near the corner of the 18 and unleashed a shot to the near post, beating Saunders and putting the nail in the coffin in the process.
The match also saw the debut of Red Bulls Designtated Player Gonzalo Veron, who had little to do after entering in the 86th minute.
With their 2015 season series in the books, the Red Bulls will remain at home to host Toronto FC on Saturday night, while NYCFC return to Yankee Stadium to take on East leaders D.C. United on Thursday night.