Was the Hudson River Derby snoozefest the nail in the coffin for NYCFC?

-In a must-win situation, NYCFC engaged in an uneventful and scoreless draw with the New York Red Bulls; what happens now?

NYCFC / Stephen Nadler/ISI Photos/GettyImages

Gone are the days when the Hudson River Derby showcased two competitive teams battling for bragging rights in New York. On Saturday, Sept. 16, New York City FC and the New York Red Bulls were two losing sides slap-fighting for a consolation trophy.

Is New York blue or red? One thing is certain: New York was asleep. The scoreless draw, unless pigs start flying in October, has pretty much eliminated both teams’ hopes for playoff contention. And with that in mind, they began competing in who can frustrate their fanbase more. NYCFC is 12th in the MLS Eastern Conference. The Red Bulls are one slot and one point separated from their local rivals.

In their last meeting, the Red Bulls hosted the Pigeons and beat them out of the Leagues Cup. You would hope they would come back with a lust for revenge and a greater sense of urgency-- given the state of their season. What they showed was the contrary.

The NYCFC draw was lackluster and poor when a win was needed

It was evident from the beginning that NYCFC was not winning. They were defensively solid, and Matt Freese quickly established himself in goal. However, moving forward, they played a lot through Birk Risa, who kept his head down and blindly cleared the ball more times than not. It was out of character for someone who made a reputation for his ability to play diagonal passes forward.

Meanwhile, the attack could not catch a break. NYCFC controlled 58 percent of the possession but kept getting outmuscled in the final third. The Pigeons managed to get nine shots off, but only two were on target. The Red Bulls mirrored their rivals, with three of their 11 shots hitting the frame.

A team effort from both sides led to the lackluster affair. It had sparks in the second half when both teams found breakthroughs but--to their credit-- both Freese and Carlos Coronel kept the scoreboard empty.

Post-game, NYCFC head coach Nick Cushing routinely redelivered old sermons.

"Ultimately, until it's mathematically impossible, we'll keep fighting. If I didn't see fight, heart, and desire today then I would [say so], I'm an honest guy. We didn't get the win, we didn't score the goal and we know that's been the story of the season. We have to continue to fight and believe which we do. And we go on to Wednesday to get three points. "

Nick Cushing

Sure, a draw is not a loss. But NYCFC desperately needed to win every game they could since the MLS season resumed. With only five games remaining, technicality becomes their best friend, assuming they only suffer the dreaded loss against Inter Miami at the end of September.

What they hope to be a road to redemption now looks more like a procession toward their season's funeral. It should have started with the Hudson River Derby. New York City FC was in Yankee Stadium in front of an excited crowd. But when fans in the supporter section show more fight (against each other) than the team on the field this late in the season-- it might be time to throw in the towel.