NYCFC road woes continue after Hudson River Derby loss

Gabriel Pereira of NYCFC
Gabriel Pereira of NYCFC / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

New York City FC and the New York Red Bulls do not like one another.  There is a reason the Hudson River Derby is always a day marked on the calendars of all supporters, for it is never just another game.  The dislike between the two supporters is also always seen amongst the players. 

Hence, despite recent struggles for both teams, Saturday’s fixture was expected to be another crazy one.  While the Red Bulls had the edge in all competitions with 13 wins, NYCFC had eight, and beat them both times in Major League Soccer just last season.  In addition, the two drew one another three times. 

Meanwhile, the Pigeons have been struggling on the road this season.  Red Bull Arena has been the home venue before for the club, so the hope was that recognition would aid in the ability to play better, despite being away.  The New Jersey team also sat in last place going into the derby.

Alas, NYCFC could not figure things out, and once again lost on the road, 1-0.  This was a Hudson River Derby they should have won, and this was officially the worst loss of the season after the players played mostly well.

NYCFC falls again on the road after Hudson River Derby loss

Nonetheless, New York City FC still had a strong Starting XI, and the Red Bulls were without a few starting players.  That was why it was disappointing they could not grab all three points, even though they were on the road.  They should have taken advantage, and should have won.

The first 45 minutes were a back and forth affair.  It was not as wild as most Hudson Derby fixtures are, but both teams showed fight; they just lacked accuracy. There were a couple of hard fouls, but that can be attributed to the fight by both sides. 

The best chance from the first half was a Gabriel Pereira shot with one touch.  The Brazilian curled the ball, but it hit the post, and went wide.  He had the goalkeeper beaten though, and if he would have been slightly more on target, then that would have been a goal.

In fact, that was the best chance from NYCFC.  While the second half saw more of an offensive effort, the killer instinct to strike on goal was missing in action.  This was another fixture that illuminated the club’s need for a striker, and supporters can only hope this will no longer be an issue in about two months. 

The second half definitely saw more of the fire that enflames the derby.  Harder fouls were committed by both teams, and often players found themselves going up to the referee, asking for cards or complaining.  It was another back and forth affair, but NYCFC led with over 68% of the possession. It felt like the game might end in a draw, but the away woes once again struck the City Blues in the 76th minute.

All it takes is one moment, and that was all it took.  NYCFC was unable to clear the ball when they were given the opportunity, and gave up too much room for Omir Fernandez.  Therefore, he took his shot.  From outside the box, he sent the ball flying into the goal, for Barraza was not close enough to the goal to tip the ball over the net.  The strike was also powerful, and in all honesty, it is unlikely any goalkeeper would have made that save. 

It has to be mentioned though the NYCFC defense had another strong night.  Luis Barraza had three saves, while center-back Maxime Chanot continuously led the backline.  His ability to withstand pressure and clear the ball was vital to neutralize the Red Bulls on attacking opportunities.  Of course, this is all the case with the exception of the lone goal.

It is once again another disappointing road loss, and this is somewhat tiresome.  Supporters know what the team can do, and the fact they could not even beat the Red Bulls, who was in last place at the start of the match, is not a good look. 

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Thankfully, the time on the road is almost over.  New York City FC has just one more stop, and then they will head home.  But when they do head home, the pressure will be at the highest level.  Not even a draw will be acceptable.