NYCFC raced out of the gates with a dominant start, Heber firing the visitors into a deserved early lead, only for the Red Bulls to claw back into the game via a Daniel Royer penalty kick on the eve of halftime. The Austrian popped up on the hour mark to beat Sean Johnson again with a deftly-flicked header to the far post, but the quality of the finish was eclipsed by the confusion and anger surrounding the play.
The game-winning sequence started with a quickly-taken throw-in by Alex Muyl, despite the fact that assistant referee Corey Rockwell had pointed his flag towards the corner flag to indicate a corner kick after a clearance by Alexander Callens. Dropping into position to defend the corner, NYCFC's defenders were left flat-footed as Cristian Casseres and Marc Rzatkowski combined to set up Royer.
Despite bitter protests from NYCFC, the goal stood, with referee Alan Kelly apparently having overruled Rockwell, and after some nine minutes of added time at game's end, the remonstrations continued. But the victory, and bragging rights for at least a few more weeks to come, was RBNY's.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Rivalry games can turn on a dime, and Sunday's game-winner was a massive moment that will be talked about for some time to come. Were the Cityzens hard done by, or did they lose their concentration at a pivotal juncture? Meanwhile the Red Bulls will be thrilled to have defended their home turf despite a mostly woeful first half.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: This one's a no-brainer...
- MAN OF THE MATCH: As controversial as his second tally might be, Daniel Royer stepped up for his team in the clutch again, as he has on several occasions over the past few years.