NYCFC vs New York Red Bulls: Getting ready for the Hudson River Derby

James Sands of NYCFC
James Sands of NYCFC / Jeff Dean/GettyImages

This weekend, New York City FC will play in their third Major League Soccer road match in a row, and fourth overall.  Luckily, this time there is not much traveling, for the Pigeons will be taking on the New York Red Bulls in the first Hudson River Derby of 2023. 

The derby fixtures are notorious for being insane, crazy, feisty, exciting, and controversial.  There are quite a few more adjectives that can be added, but that would take up too much of the preview.  Still, these games are not ordinary MLS games, for not only do the two sides hate one another, but the rivalry is officially a homegrown one.  In other words, despite being manufactured back when NYCFC came into the league, it has grown into an authentic one.

This season, both teams are struggling, but the team that actually plays in New York has been somewhat better, for their struggles have been on the road.  While this is technically an away game, the sky blue side has called their rival’s stadium home before, and will be very familiar with their surroundings. 

Let’s not waste any time.  Here is the preview for the first Hudson River Derby of the year.

When is the match between New York City FC and the New York Red Bulls?

The match will take place on Saturday, May 13, at 7:30 PM.

Where is the NYCFC game?

The game will take place in Harrison, New Jersey, at the Red Bull Arena.

Where can fans watch the NYCFC game?

Fans can catch NYCFC on Apple TV via the MLS Season Pass. 

What can New York City FC expect from the Red Bulls?

New York City FC might be going in a little blind when they face the Red Bulls this weekend.  The New Jersey team recently parted ways with Gerhard Struber, which is a move that should have happened weeks ago after he mishandled the Dante Vanzeir incident, both during and after the game.  The Designated Player was suspended for using racist language in a match against the San Jose Earthquakes, and Struber allowed the player to remain on the pitch. 

Moreover, the Red Bulls currently sit in last place in the Eastern Conference, and have not played well thus far.  The team has one win, and the attack has been dormant, for they have only scored seven goals in Major League Soccer.  Likely, the former head coach would have been out regardless of the issues off the pitch.   

Of course, the record does not matter, for NYCFC went into Toronto and Charlotte, and still lost.  Plus, this is the Hudson River Derby, where anything can happen. 

Additionally, the Red Bulls won their U.S. Open Cup fixture, and now have a new coach.  Therefore, the Pigeons might not have too much time to adjust to new changes.  This can allow the red side to surprise the blue side, and possibly trick them by a change in tactics. 

That is why NYCFC must be on their A-game, and must play how they would play at home.  Sure, this might be an away fixture, but the New Jersey stadium has been home before.  Hence, maybe some mental tricks can make it feel like home.

Which NYCFC player should supporters watch?

NYCFC supporters should watch James Sands.  The midfielder has been the captain for most of the season at this point, and this will be the fixture that reveals his true leadership.  Now, clearly he has been a leader, even before he left on his initial loan deal.  But this time, he will wear the armband for a Hudson River Derby. 

As such, with the craziness of the rivalry, it will be interesting to see how Sands will lead his team.  The Pigeons are also on a three-game losing streak in all competitions.  Not only is the pressure on for everyone, but also the guy from Rye.  Can he help lead his teammates to a win, and change the path they are on?                                                                 

What is the prediction for New York City FC?

New York City FC has been struggling on the road, but this time, they will be at Red Bull Arena, which unfortunately has served as a home stadium before.  In addition, the Red Bulls are having a tougher season, and recently made a change in the head coach.  It is difficult to predict how they will play against the Pigeons, but based on recent trends, it is time to be positive with the prediction.

That is why NYCFC will win, 2-0.  The tide has to change, and while the tactics of the New Jersey side might be in question, the Bronx team should be able to pounce and take advantage.

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New York City FC has an opportunity to go into Red Bull Arena, and take all three points.  Alas, like it is said in every preview about road fixtures, the players must play how they play at home.