The New York Red Bulls swept the Hudson River Derby with NYC FC last season, and they continued their dominance in a big way on Saturday at Yankee Stadium.
The Red Bulls beat the New York City Football Club 7-0.
This was historic in many ways for the Red Bulls, as it was the most goals they ever scored in a game and their largest margin of victory.
The seven-goal differential tied the largest margin of victory in MLS history, matching the LA Galaxy’s 8-1 win over Dallas on June 4, 1998, and Chicago’s 7-0 victory against Kansas City on August 4, 2001.
The Red Bulls got on the board early, as their captain Dax McCarty headed in a corner kick from Sacha Kljestan to make it 1-0 in the third minute.
The first half was actually pretty even, as NYC FC had plenty of chances, getting fur shots on off and controlling play for 55 percent of the time, but they couldn’t get on the board.
The Red Bulls struck late in the first half. In the 42nd minute, Mike Grella took the ball into the left corner and dribbled in a circle around an NYC FC defender, and fired it into the box to Bradley Wright-Phillips, who headed it in to make it 2-0.
If that wasn’t enough of a back-breaker, the Red Bulls scored two minutes into extra time (45’+2), when Wright-Phillips struck again after a set-up from Grella and a header from Aurelien Collin to give them a 3-0 lead heading into halftime.
In the 50th minute, Wright-Phillips got off a rocket, and NYC FC goalie Josh Saunders made a big save, as he tipped it over the bar into the stands.
That set up a corner kick, which was taken by Kljestan, and just like the first goal, McCarty headed it in to make it 4-0 Red Bulls.
In the 54th minute, the Red Bulls sent in Alex Muyl for Mike Grella. It took just a couple minutes for Muyl to score on a feed from Wright-Phillips to make it 5-0.
Gonzalo Veron scored in the 83rd minute, and Gideon Baah scored to make it 7-0 in the 89th minute.
This was the Red Bulls’ second straight win, and they improved to 5-7-1, making their 1-6 start feel like a distant memory. NYC FC fell to 4-4-5, and this was their first loss after a five-game unbeaten streak, in which they had three wins and two ties.
New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles broke another MLS record on Saturday night, starting his 119th consecutive MLS regular season game. Robles surpassed Chris Klein’s record of 118. Robles is the only MLS player to start 100 or more consecutive games for the same franchise.
The shutout was Robles’ third of the season, and second in the last two contests.
“Incredible performance, “Red Bulls Head Coach Jesse Marsch said afterwards. “We had a bunch of guys on the field who wanted to express how much they wanted it, and you know it’s been a tough start of the season for us, there’s no doubt, but I felt like in all ways we wanted to go out and make sure that this was going to be a performance whether we won or lost that we could hang our hat on. We could say, alright now we’re turning the corner, now we’re in that big game, we know what that’s going to take. Not in our wildest dreams would we have predicted 7-0, but I think it was again an expression of the belief and the commitment that this team has for each other and a chance for them to show mostly themselves what we’re all about.”
Marsch said of whether he expected more from the opponent, “Well, you know, tactically, I think we knew what we were going to get. We were going to make some adjustments to deal with what they do tactically. I think what (NYC FC Head Coach Patrick) Vieira has done this year with the team tactically is very unique and we had to make a few adjustments to make sure that the way they press from the inside doesn’t cost us, and so we created different ways to start to break down that pressure. Now the fight part, it’s a question of how much fight did they have versus how much did we have, and I think we learned a ton from a week ago. We see where we laid a goose egg and we realized that we never wanted to do that again so I think a lot of it had to do with our ability to step on the field and really know what it meant to go after.”
On what the importance was to continue to push in the game and score more goals, Marsch said, “Well we always want to play our optimum. You know, one of the things that was great was the three subs that we put on the field ultimately end up getting goals. You know, it’s been a weird year. We haven’t been able to show our quality at a lot of moments and we haven’t always played at our best, but the whole time that we were going through our struggles we just thought when we get out of this, we’re going to be better – so that’s been the focus, that’s been the concentration, and I think that you know again, after coming off a good year, there’s something to overcome with the complacency, but now with a tough start we just knocked some of that out and we’re trying to fill back in all the little details and the work ethic to get us back to where we can be.”
“It was a poor game,” said NYC FC Head Coach Patrick Vieira. “I think we didn’t start the game the right way at all. In every aspect of the game we were second. We didn’t do enough today. It’s never easy to concede 7 goals, especially in a Derby match. That’s what I say to the players after the game. We didn’t turn up. We didn’t play well at all in any aspect of the game. But on the other side, I told them that I am not throwing away what we have been doing from the beginning of the season. We at time play some good football, we won games, we lost games, and I think today was just about the emotional side of the game that we didn’t control. We were a bit anxious, too nervous, and really didn’t play.”
Vieira said of giving up set piece goals, “At this level especially int he Derby match, when you do not match the competitive level of the opposition team, you can give up four goals from set pieces, and it is unacceptable. This is a really disappointing game for us tonight – in every aspect. I will have to analyze the game properly. But at the same time I think that we will learn. I know where we come from. I will not forget what we have been doing the past four months. Of course it is a setback. We have to keep our head up. We had a fantastic crowd today. It’s really difficult for the fans, the players, the families of the players, but we have to manage it. We need to keep our head and manage it.”
Red Bulls Forward Bradley Wright-Phillips, who had two goals, said of the game, “You come in expecting a brawl, and it was, but we were so clinical that there was nothing that could stop us. We got the goals we deserved today. There have been a lot of games this season where we didn’t get the goals we deserved, where we could have scored six. There can be no complaints today, no complaints.
Wright-Phillips said of the score, “I can’t explain it. I’m still trying to think now. seven-nil is crazy, especially with the players they’ve got. We came in today and showed them nothing but respect, which is why we worked so hard, and today we were just so clinical and everything came off for us….It was one of those games where nothing went wrong. We have had a lot of games this year where I feel like we didn’t get the luck, but today it all went our way.
On being a liberated team, Wright-Phillips said, “I feel like we are. Credit to them – they are a good team that sticks to their game plan. They try to play out of the back and play high pressure, and it played in our favor today. Today we were able to play our game away from home, close them down, and get shots off. It’s an amazing feeling.”
Red Bulls Midfielder Sacha Kljestan said of the goals, “I think we probably had 3 or 4 chances, and we put three of them away and I think that changed the game.”
Kljestan said of a a game with such a big score line, “Yeah I was saying it’s funny, sometimes when you play these Derby games they don’t ever end 0-0, there is always some action. I remember when I played for Anderlecht one year we were playing Club Bruges, who is our biggest rival, and it was a 1 vs. 2 game and we ended up winning 6-0 at home – and you think – “How can this happen in a Derby game?” – and it’s one of those where after the first domino falls, they just keep falling.”
Kljestan said of why he thinks the rivalry has been so lopsided, “Last year we won the Supporters Shield and they didn’t make the playoffs, so it was lopsided in that way. This year I think it is going to be more competitive. They’ve improved and they are a good team. Today we just put away 3-4 goals on set pieces I think and that doesn’t usually happen in a game so, we all stuck together, our mentality was great all night, and we finished a lot of chances. I don’t think a lot of Derby games are going to be like this.”
Wright-Phillips said of the feeling of the rivalry, “It was always going to be chippy. At the beginning of the game you could feel the nerves, this rivalry is definitely up there and it is only going to get better.”
Vieira said of how the team will you overcome this, “Working. Working, working, working. Before the game, we are not a perfect team, and after the game, we are not the worst team. I know the team really well, I know the players really well, I know which aspect of the game we really need to improve. Like I said to the players after the game, I still believe we are a really good team, I am strongly behind the team and behind the players, and this is one off the games that we have to forget. It will be good to see how our team spirit is, because we have to bounce back from the game.”