3 things we learned from the emotional Hudson River Derby win over the Red Bulls

  • NYCFC and the New York Red Bulls played another crazy Hudson River Derby
  • The Pigeons ended up on top thanks to Mounsef Bakrar
  • Here are three things we learned from the game
NYCFC / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, New York City FC welcomed the New York Red Bulls to Queens for the first Hudson River Derby of the season.  The team just completed back-to-back road wins against Toronto FC and the Philadelphia Union, so their confidence was sky-high. 

Meanwhile, the crowd was the biggest of the year and showed up noisy on a rainy evening.  A change in the weather prediction from the morning did not scare fans away, for they showed out in force.  Truthfully, fans tend to go to the home derby, but nobody knew whether it would be different at Citi Field.  Of course, it was not.

NYCFC also showed out in full force with their drive to win.  The Pigeons did not have the best performance but got the job done.  They beat the Red Bulls 2-1, with Mounsef Bakrar scoring his first goal of the season and the game-winner.

This was still a great game and the result was even better.  Here are three things we learned from the Hudson River Derby win.

3 things we learned from the Hudson River Derby win

1. Mounsef Bakrar finally scored, and it meant the world

Bakrar has struggled to find the back of the net for the entire season so far.  The striker continuously threatened the opposing teams, but could not capitalize.  As a result, fans were upset about all the times he started and failed to score.

For the derby, Bakrar was on the bench, later coming on in the 58th minute.  So what did he do six minutes later?  He scored his first goal of the season!  It was a typical striker’s goal, and he won the game for NYCFC.

It was clear how it meant the world to him and everyone in the club.  Bakrar released his emotions, smiling ear to ear, but also showing relief on his face.  The way he jumped into Nick Cushing’s arms illuminated his happiness.  The celebrations around him showed how happy everyone was for him.  The crowd’s cheers also spoke volumes. It was an emotional scene.

It took time, but the Algerian finally scored his first goal of the season, and in the Hudson River Derby too.  This was a perfect moment for Bakrar, and hopefully, more goals will follow.

2. NYCFC has a winger problem

Malachi Jones and Hannes Wolf received the starts for the Hudson River Derby.  Jones has proven himself to be a formidable threat with his speed and ability to get the ball into the box.  Wolf has started most of the games, for he is someone Cushing often wants to not leave out.

That left players like Julián Fernández, Talles Magno, and Agustín Ojeda on the bench.  All of the wingers are capable of starting, with Magno likely still limited with his minutes.  Still, Fernández and Ojeda have already proven they can start and contribute to the attack.  Plus, Andres Jasson can also be utilized.

In other words, NYCFC has a winger problem.  It is a good thing though.  It allows Cushing to rotate his players, as seen already, and put in the person that is best fit for certain teams.  Ojeda could have easily started on Saturday, but Jones proved to everyone quickly that he was the right call after assisting on Wolf’s goal.

It also means the team is set when it comes to winger depth.  Unless someone leaves in the summer transfer window, NYCFC does not need to go out and sign a winger.  Instead, they can mix and match the players throughout the rest of the season.

3. The NYCFC crowd was special

Saturday’s Hudson River Derby was the first time the match was played at Citi Field.  There have been some good NYCFC crowds this year, but this was the biggest of them all.  Over 30,000 fans showed up in the rain, which is not shocking.  The derby often has the largest attendance or one of the biggest each year.

This crowd was special.  They were loud and cheered NYCFC on, even after the Red Bulls tied the match.  They made sure the New Jersey side knew they were in enemy territory, acting as the 12th player on the team.  The passion was evident as well.  Everyone there, except the away fans, loved the Pigeons.  Watching the supporters watch and experience the game was amazing.

It would be incredible for NYCFC to get more crowds like this, especially with over 30,000 fans.  It is difficult to treat every game like the Hudson River Derby, but maybe they can get the fans to show up like this at a few more fixtures.