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New York City FC vs. New York Red Bulls | 2017 MLS Match Preview

New York City FC vs. New York Red Bulls
2017 MLS Regular Season
Yankee Stadium – New York, New York
August 6, 2017 – 6 pm ET
WATCH: FS1, FOX Deportes (USA) | TSN2 (Canada)

Is the tide of the New York Derby turning?

It would’ve seemed that way after New York City FC’s impressive 2-0 win in the first of three league meetings with the New York Red Bulls this year, but the red side of the city has come roaring back to life in the four games since and finds itself in great position to re-assert its dominance at Yankee Stadium on Sunday. 

The Red Bulls took apart the Montreal Impact, 4-0, last Saturday evening, perhaps the highest moment yet in a season-changing four-game win streak sparked by a switch in formation (more on that later). They’ll be looking to use that momentum to deliver another body blow to their city rivals, who were left reeling after a heavy defeat, also by a 4-0 scoreline, to league leaders Toronto FC.

With the playoff race heating up, two of the league’s most innovative coaches on the sidelines and Video Review making its debut in what has often been a feisty affair, there will be plenty of storylines to discuss in the latest chapter of this rivalry.

New York City FC

NYCFC have taken major strides in their second year under Patrick Vieira, but after their eye-opening defeat to Toronto last weekend, Vieira insists his team have a long way to go to realize their MLS Cup ambitions.

“I think when you look at the game and [Toronto’s] roster, we still have a long ways to go,” he said. “There is still a gap. We couldn’t perform because they were too good for us. As simple as that.”

A World Cup winner as a player, Vieira also lamented his team’s lack of consistency and follow-through after a remarkable effort in a 2-1 win over Chicago – another top team in the East – in which they played the vast majority of the game down a man.

“The way we played against Chicago a man down and the way we played today, it’s difficult for me to accept our lack of consistency,” said Vieira. “We have a massive one next week and it’s going to be a derby, so we just have to take and look at what we can improve.”

Vieira’s quest for consistency – and a second straight derby win – will be aided by the return of Yangel Herrera from suspension. The 19-year-old Venezuelan midfielder has emerged as a key piece of NYCFC’s midfield, supplanting Italian veteran Andrea Pirlo, who will likely make his way back to the bench with Herrera’s return.

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next yellow card: M Maxi Moralez, D Ethan White, M Alex Ring, M Yangel Herrera
  • International Duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: F Khiry Shelton (hamstring injury), D Ronald Matarrita (foot surgery), M Miguel Camargo (non-displaced hip fracture), D/M James Sands (right ASIS apophysitis injury), M Rodney Wallace (right adductor strain), D Maxime Chanot (osteitis pubis inflammation)

Projected Starting XI (4-3-3, right to left): Sean Johnson – Ethan White, Frederic Brillant, Alexander Callens, Ben Sweat – Maxi Moralez, Yangel Herrera, Alex Ring – Jack Harrison, David Villa, Tommy McNamara

Notes: Since Patrick Vieira took over, NYCFC average 2.1 goals per home game. Only two other teams that have played in both the 2016 and 2017 seasons average at least 2.0 goals per game at home. …  NYCFC’s 4-0 loss to Toronto last weekend was the fifth time in franchise history that they have conceded four-or-more goals in a regular season game. Four of the five instances have come in games against Toronto or the Red Bulls (two games against each team).

New York Red Bulls

The Red Bulls continue to excel in their new formation, which has seen head coach Jesse Marsch shift to a three-man backline and try a number of players in new positions. Though results pretty much speak for themselves, and after Saturday’s resounding victory over Montreal, Jesse Marsch spoke about what makes the new-look Red Bulls tick.

“We just tried to rotate things mainly [for] three reasons,” Marsch said Saturday night. “One was we were giving up so many set-piece goals, and we felt by having another center back or center-back type player it would give us more guys on the field that would have height and strength and do well in aerial duels. Second was to free up Sacha [Kljestan] more. Teams were really locking into Sacha.

“And then we felt like the big tactic playing against us was to switch the ball. The ability to lock down the wings has meant the teams have to come down the middle on us, then they have to do deal with our pressure. Sacha, tactics, set pieces have led to the decisions.”

Of course, Marsch’s opposite number, Vieira, has come to be regarded as an excellent tactician in his own right – can he do what the Red Bulls’ last four opponents have failed to do and iron out this latest wrinkle?

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next yellow card: None
  • International Duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D Gideon Baah (broken leg), M Mike Grella (knee surgery); QUESTIONABLE – D Aurelien Collin (hamstring injury), D Connor Lade (knee)

Projected Starting XI (3-4-3, right to left): Luis Robles – Michael Murillo, Aaron Long, Kemar Lawrence – Tyler Adams, Felipe, Sacha Kljestan, Alex Muyl – Sean Davis, Bradley Wright-Phillips, Daniel Royer

Notes: The Red Bulls have won their last three games on the road after dropping their previous six away games. The club has not won four-straight road games in regular season play since Aug. 15, 2001-April 12, 2002. … Daniel Royer led the league with six goals in July. No other MLS player scored more than four goals in the month.

All-Time Series

In addition to their league meeting this year, the teams met in the US Open Cup on June 14, with the Red Bulls earning a 1-0 home win over NYCFC. (Stats below reflect only league meetings.)

  • Overall: NYCFC 2 wins (7 goals) … Red Bulls 5 wins (18 goals) … Ties 0
  • At NYC: NYCFC 1 win (3 goals) … Red Bulls 2 wins (10 goals) … Ties 0

Referees

Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Assistant Referees: Corey Parker, Peter Manikowski
4th Official: Ismail Elfath
Video Review: Allen Chapman