Mounsef Bakrar's goal leads NYCFC to win in Hudson River Derby over RBNY

  • NYCFC and the New York Red Bulls played one another for the first time in 2024
  • It was the first Hudson River Derby in Queens
  • Mousef Bakrar led the Pigeons to a 2-1 win
NYCFC / Mark Smith-USA TODAY Sports

One can ask any New York City FC fan about the Hudson River Derby, and they will tell you it is the most important match.  There is nothing better than beating the rival and declaring “New York is Blue.”

The first derby of the year took place on Saturday evening at Citi Field.  This was the first time the match was played in Queens, and the first of many.  The crowd was incredible, and everyone hoped the fans’ presence would encourage the team to a fantastic performance and a win.  While the New York Red Bulls are doing well, NYCFC has been extremely hot as of late.  Everyone knew a win was possible.

Nick Cushing also put out a lineup that could compete.  Malachi Jones has done well over his last few matches, so it was not surprising he went with him.  Also, Jovan Mijatović finally got his first start as the striker.  He also opted for Tayvon Gray, who is the more defensive right-back.  This was needed for an offensive RBNY side.

In the end, Cushing got his Starting XI and subs correct, for NYCFC won 2-1 against the team from New Jersey.  It was not the prettiest, but the Pigeons got the job done in front of a fantastic crowd.

NYCFC takes Part 1 of the Hudson River Derby

Like the match against the Philadelphia Union, NYCFC opened the scoring early.  It was Hannes Wolf who put the team on top in the third minute of play.  Jones picked out his fellow forward in the box and sent the ball to him.  The Austrian took his time to control the ball and wait for the perfect chance.  A slight movement forward from Carlos Coronel, the Red Bulls’ goalkeeper, allowed him to sweep the ball quickly into the goal.

Before the end of the first half, the Red Bulls tied the game on a golazo by Cameron Harper.  NYCFC failed to get the 50-50 balls near their own box, which allowed the visitors to take their shot.  It was not the ideal way to head into the locker and the goal turned the crowd quiet.

The fans did pick things up again in the second half, creating a thrilling environment to watch the match.  The biggest crowd of the year cheered the Pigeons on and revamped the energy.  There were some scary moments for the home side, but the Red Bulls failed to capitalize on those chances.  That is why NYCFC went back on top again.

Mounsef Bakrar had come on for Mijatović in the 58th minute.  And guess what?  The Algerian, after all this time and his struggles, scored his first goal of the season.  He was in the right place at the right time in front of the goal, and Tayvon Gray picked the striker out.  Bakrar tapped the ball into the back of the net and ran like crazy toward the bench.

Fans could see how much it meant to him with his wide smile and celebrations with his team.  He jumped right into the arms of Cushing, for the head coach constantly believed in him.  The joy and emotion of everyone showed how much this meant to the entire club.

His goal was also the game-winner.  After so many months of the fans’ complaints, he turned into the Hudson River Derby hero.  Maybe some time to not be in front and center all the time was what he needed.  He must feel all the relief in the world.

As mentioned, the fixture was not the prettiest, and nor was it the best performance by NYCFC.  The Boys in Blue still found a way to get the result, which they have done throughout the season.  They gave up one goal, but the defense otherwise hindered the offensive effort.  They allowed shots and chances but limited the RBNY players’ ability to capitalize.

In the end, the only thing that matters is the result.  NYCFC won 2-1 thanks to Bakrar.  The hero ensured that everyone knew that New York is blue.