HANOVER, N.J. – Tyler Adams has seen the NY Derby up close and personal.
The New York Red Bulls’ 19-year-old Homegrown star has witnessed the battle for Big Apple bragging rights with New York City FC as both a player and a fan, and this week he underlined his team’s desire to regain their dominance of the crosstown showdown.
The Red Bulls owned this matchup lock, stock and barrel in its first two years of existence, highlighted by their 7-0 thumping of NYCFC two years ago at Yankee Stadium, a rout that is still a point of pride for the red half of New York. But last year, the other side took the bragging rights, winning twice and drawing once in their three meetings in league play.
RBNY did, however, beat their Bronx nemeses in the U.S. Open Cup last year, part of their run to the tournament’s final.
Adams said NYCFC’s emergence helps level the playing field of the burgeoning rivalry, and certainly ups the focus and fire as they head into Saturday’s match at Red Bull Arena (1:55 pm ET | ESPN – Full TV & streaming info).
“Absolutely,” Adams told MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday. “Their team is getting more and more successful, as you can see. They’ve developed a really good system and a style of play that they’ve stuck to and they’re really good at it. I think that for us, the first couple of years, we got the better hand of them.
“They’ve adapted well to the league now. For us, I think it’s going to be the same thing going into the game as always. It is kind of contradictory, our style of play against their style of play. We’re going to emphasize pressing them high up the field and creating chances as we always do. But for us, they’ve adapted well to the team and we have a lot of respect for them.”
The US national team midfielder doesn’t hesitate to point to that infamous 7-0 result on May 21, 2016, powered by two goals apiece from Bradley Wright-Phillips and Dax McCarty, as the biggest moment of the rivalry thus far.
Adams was in his second season with the Red Bulls, having moved through the ranks with the club’s USL side the year before. In May 2016, he was with the first team but still spent time on loan with Red Bulls II to get matches and build fitness.
On that day, the USL team had an away match vs. FC Montreal, a 1-0 win on a stoppage-time goal by Junior Flemmings. It was there that Tyler and his teammates first saw the 7-0 scoreline, leaving them in shock.
“Obviously it is easy to say the 7-0 win, right? At that time I was playing USL and we came back to check our phones in Montreal. And we saw that 7-0 and we thought there was an error on the phone or something like that. That’s an easy one to stick out,” Adams said this week, before sharing another memory that’s perhaps a bit more personal.
“For me, being a part of the  Open Cup win, that was important. That was my first win with the team against them. I think we’re looking to get another one.”
RBNY v. NYCFC Saturday @ 2pm ET at Red Bull Arena – Limited tickets available for the NY Derby starting at $40