Top Stories

Red Bulls, NYCFC ready to write second chapter of fledgling rivalry

photo by Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports


NEW YORK — New York City FC and the New York Red Bulls were reluctant to use the word ‘rivalry’ last time out.

That is not the case anymore.

NYCFC and the Red Bulls will write the second chapter of their fledgling rivalry on Sunday, as they square off in a rematch of the electric inaugural affair that took place back on May 10. The scene will shift from Red Bull Arena to Yankee Stadium this time, and more than 40,000 tickets have been sold for the next installment of the battle for New York supremacy.

Both clubs enter the match in vastly different forms than when the Red Bulls topped NYCFC, 2-1, on Mother’s Day. Whereas the Red Bulls were the more in-form team a month ago, they now are mired in a rough stretch that has seen them win just once in their last six games. NYCFC, meanwhile, has vastly improved and is riding a three-game winning streak that has brought it within striking distance of a playoff position.

Still, as the first match showed us, recent form and records will likely all become secondary once the ball gets rolling on Sunday.

“I think it’s pretty fair to be able call it a rivalry now,” said Red Bulls captain Dax McCarty. “I would’ve liked to not have that red card in the first game, but you could see the intensity on the field. It means a lot to the guys. It means a lot to our players, I know it means a lot to their players.

“When you hear things like 45,000 tickets sold or whatever it is, that’s the stuff you really look forward to as a player. It gives you goosebumps, and those are the games you want to play in. It feels real, it feels like a good rivalry.”

As good as it might feel, there is no real bad blood between the two clubs. Evidence of that came on Thursday as both clubs had players and coaches pose for photos together and take turns answering questions at an MLS-organized press conference in New York City.

Sure, there is still a level of competitiveness that is being driven by their rabid fanbases and the players’ desire to claim bragging rights in a city that loves its winners. But the animosity and tension that most of the biggest rivalries in soccer share is missing in this New York feud, mostly due to the fact that it is still in its infancy.

Regardless, tempers will probably flare on Sunday as the majority of the league turns its eyes to the Bronx. It happened in the first meeting – there was plenty of pushing and shoving as the match wore on – and probably will again as the two teams try to impose their wills on one another.

“(The Red Bulls) play a high-tempo game, they try to press you in your half of the field, and they make it difficult for teams to build out,” said NYCFC head coach Jason Kreis. “We happen to be a team that wants to build out and dictates the tempo of the game, that wants to be a high-possession group. I think it’s an interesting match-up.

“Obviously, the Red Bulls did a better job in the first game, that’s why they won the game, but I feel that we’re a much better, much improved and a different team now than we were just that short time ago. I think it’s going to be a very intriguing match on Sunday.”

NYCFC enters the match with a slight advantage. The expansion club was off during Wednesday’s jam-packed slate of games, and has had the entire week to prepare for the Red Bulls. Jesse Marsch’s side, meanwhile, played the second of three games in an eight day stretch on Wednesday, and now faces a short turnaround with fatigue accumulating.

The good news for the Red Bulls is that they gained confidence by winning that Wednesday fixture, defeating a nine-man Real Salt Lake side, 1-0, at Red Bull Arena. They also counted on some reserves in that match, meaning that the strongest starting lineup is likely to take the field vs. NYCFC.

“We should have some fresh legs on the field, and I think this will be close to our first group,” said Marsch. “We haven’t really been able to put that on the field quite yet this year. We’re not totally certain. We’re still checking in with guys physically to see where they’re at and how they’re coming along, but I expect us to be ready to go.

“This isn’t a game that’s going to require a lot of mental motivation from me or big speeches. It’s just a matter of getting our team prepared, making sure that we know what to expect and then letting them go out on the field and do their jobs and compete at a high level. We’ll be ready, that’s for sure, no doubt.”

Fans of both teams appear ready to their part to boost the rivalry, with the match expected to be a sellout crowd of 48,000 by the time proceedings kick off on Sunday. If the first meeting between these teams was any indication, Sunday’s clash should offer another memorable atmosphere.

“People came out in great numbers and it seemed like everyone was really excited about the night,” said NYCFC defender Chris Wingert. “Hopefully we continue to grow that, and it sounds like that’s already the case with 40,000 tickets sold. We’re looking forward to it.”

Added McCarty: “For that to be the first game to play against them, in our stadium, for it to be that loud, that vibrant, that electric, it was truly eye-opening for me how much it means to this city and how much it means to both fanbases.”


  1. Why don’t you guys include the channel and time in these write-ups? I know you guys have a separate post for that, but I think it should be included in all posts surrounding the game.

    • ESPN now!, great lead in show ESPN does it right but Adrian Healy has possibly one of the most annoying voices on TV.

  2. kids. Please don’t cry!!
    New Jersey Red Balls… C’Mon! Soda club!!
    Then this NYCFC witch let me remind you that this is a club that was created by MLS! Cuz they cuoldnt get the World Famous New York Cosmos!!
    NYCFC = New York Cosmos copy cat!
    And please don’t come up with the stadium excuse!
    NJRB used to play at Giant stadium! And NYCFC doesn’t even have a stadium! But MLS did an exemption! Cuz they needed a Cosmos wanna be!
    BTW. Who’s your Daddy?!?! Lol who owns New York?!?!
    Let me remind you. The New York Cosmos are the King of NY!!
    Go away bitches!!! Lol

    • I think its funny to see Seamus O’brien spending his time on SBI posting again and again. He has a lot of unstructured time out in the sticks on Long Island.

    • King if NY from one game? Against teams who can care less about the US Open?Did you hear Pete? NYRB Players were begging not to play in Open Cup game against the. Cosmos,they wanted to rest.

    • Let me know when the Cosmos sign someone the calibre of Villa, Lampard, and Pirlo, let alone three players, and when they quit playing on a college lacrosse field. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

      • At least it’s on grass and people actually show up. Plus, the Cosmos of old started out at Yankee Stadium. It must be embarrassing for someone to copy your plan, but do it better than you. Still waiting on those big signings.

  3. To me, the goats were the black sheep of the league until bob bradley gave them respectability years later.

  4. When chivas USA became the league’s second team in LA, it was billed as a rivalry. But, the LA players, after beating the Goats in their inaugural meeting, put a different spin on it. “It’s not a rivalry until they beat us once,” one of the players said after the game.

    If NYFC wins on sunday, a rivalry is born. Any other result, and we have to wait.

  5. Too bad we don’t get to play our rival on rivalry week! DC v RBNY that’s a rivalry. Calling this a rivalry match is just marketing for NYCFC….ah well we need the three point!

  6. “My team’s more plastic”
    “No, my team is”
    “Shut up. We are a global lifestyle brand”
    “Oh yeah. We are a blood-soaked global football group with shady accountants”
    “We’re a friggin soda!”

    Rivalry week can be so brutal

    • Ah the sweet sweet tears of cosmos fans. Sorry MLS rejected you. I guess MLS was just blind to the possibilities of a club playing at a lacrosse stadium in Hempstead. I will give you guys one thing – nothing is more plastic than ripping off the name of a long dead overrated franchise in the hopes it will attract people nostalgic for that defunct brand. Hempstead Cosmos – champions of plastic.

      • Dude
        You steer every conversation towards the Cosmos

        I read his comments more like a eurosnob thing


      • Lol. You making non sense comments kid!!
        Like I said… Cosmos doesn’t need MLS!!
        MLS needs the Cosmos!!
        Accept the truth!!
        And please. That thing about the stadiums is oLD!kids these days think they know about futbol!!

      • Lol.. I don’t know.. You tell me… You must be the accountant! Lol
        How much does your team make? Lol
        Is that how kids choose teams now?? By how much they make?!?! Lol

Leave a Comment