Sean Davis - New York Red Bulls - close-up - celebrates a goal
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Sean Davis: There was bad blood right away between Red Bulls, NYCFC

From the first minute of the Hudson River Derby between the New York Red Bulls and NYCFC, mutual animosity was apparent.

The rivals have been at each other's throats since NYCFC entered the league in 2015, the same season that marked RBNY Homegrown midfielder Sean Davis' rookie campaign. The energy was special that day, he told MLSsoccer.com.

“I had a different role on the team back then; I was a bench player so I had the best seat in the house to all of the games," Davis, now RBNY's captain, said. "I remember the first game at Red Bull Arena, you could just feel a different energy in the stadium. You could tell how much it meant to the fans, players and staff. You could tell there was bad blood between the players.”

The Red Bulls triumphed 2-1 on May 10, 2015 thanks to two Bradley Wright-Phillips goals. 

Davis, a New Jersey native who has made 126 regular-season appearances for the club so far, highlighted several great moments in the rivalry. The first he referenced was RBNY's 4-0 win in the 2018 U.S. Open Cup, since it was the first time that Davis wore the captain's armband for his boyhood club.

The second, of course, was the famous "Red Wedding" in which Davis' side blitzed NYCFC for an emphatic 7-0 victory

“Those are some iconic wins," Davis said. "But anytime you can get a result against them, it’s a great feeling.”

Given how the Red Bulls' MLS history dates back to 1996, plus their geographical proximity to other clubs, heated exchanges have developed elsewhere. 

There's the Atlantic Cup rivalry with D.C. United, from the league's early days, and a budding feud with Atlanta United during top-of-the-table encounters and an Audi MLS Cup Playoffs series.

“You have to respect the rivalry with D.C., (since) it dates back to 1996 and we know how important it is to the fans," Davis said. "But thinking of my tenure with the club, I’m very familiar with the players at NYCFC, as well as Atlanta. ... If I had to give you rankings, and I don’t mean any disrespect to the D.C. rivalry, I’d put it as: NYCFC, Atlanta, then D.C."

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