Simply put, the Red Bulls wanted it more. That was certainly the case in the first derby encounter of 2018, a 4-0 drubbing at Red Bull Arena a month ago.
“We have to enjoy the score tonight – we are in tomorrow, Sunday, because we want to give ourselves the best chance to win that game,” NYCFC coach Patrick Vieira said after his club’s 3-0 win over Orlando City SC Saturday night. “We’re going to prepare that game well and when you win the game, players are quite in a really good spirit and the recovery is much quicker, I would say.”
Vieira did, though, call out his entire team for their road form — they are a pedestrian 2-3-3 away from Yankee Stadium this year.
“When we play away from home we need to change our attitude,” he said. “When we are away, we are a little bit too soft, I would say. I think we have to think about defending much better when we’re traveling. We know what to expect when we’re going to go there against the Red Bulls and we will see.”
While it will be interesting to see what Vieira’s formation will be and how much of a first-choice lineup will be on the field Wednesday, especially with a showdown against league leaders Atlanta United on the horizon Saturday afternoon (12:30 pm ET | ESPN+ - Full TV & Streaming info) in the Bronx, it would appear playing with intensity in the midweek won’t be an issue.
“It’s a derby again. After last time, we don’t need motivation,” midfielder Alex Ring said. “That’s what we play for. I’d rather play than practice all week long. I’m looking forward to the game and I think the other guys are, too.”
NYCFC will not just be seeking revenge, they’ll also be chasing history. The club has yet to win an Open Cup match, twice losing to the New York Cosmos followed by a 1-0 defeat to the Red Bulls a year ago.
“In the Cup, it will be a very hard game against Red Bulls. It is a derby, it’s always a special game,” said Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, who struck for his second brace of the season on Saturday. “We want to make it better than last time, of course, for us, for the supporters. It will be really important game and we want to win this game.”