The New York Red Bulls put together as complete a performance as they could against rivals New York City FC on Saturday. From the backline to the attacking front, the Red Bulls dominated from an individual and collective standpoint. While derby veterans in Bradley Wright-Phillips and Tyler Adams stood out, so did the likes of Tim Parker, Kaku, and Florian Valot, who all got their first taste of one of the league’s biggest rivalries.
“For [these] guys to come into the situation, it can be a little bit overwhelming,” Luis Robles said after the match. “You see their ability and their professionalism to be able to take it in stride and make a difference, and they did.”
Kaku, who grabbed a goal and two assists in the first half, admitted the preparation was challenging.
“There were a lot of details that we had to pay attention to,” the Argentine said. “…I have adapted quickly. I have been welcome, and that my teammates have helped me with the language and all that.”
Valot, who recorded a goal and an assist on the day, was also not daunted by the task.
“It was another game, like the other ones,” the Frenchman said, though he did not undersell the value of the victory.
“Beating them 4-0 is a big statement for us and for the league that we’re ready for the season.”
The two of them were part of a midfield that completely dominated the field, leaving the opposition with little room to play.
In particular, the defensive effort was what impressed Marsch and his players, particularly with the task of defending David Villa and Maxi Moralez at hand.
“I think we won the battle of the midfield,” head coach Jesse Marsch noted. “I think we picked up more second balls, I think we pressed them better, we picked them off in possession more,” which showed itself in attack and defense.
“We designed a specific tactical pressuring scheme to try and limit those two guys,” the head coach said. “It was also going to require whoever was in the vicinity to be aware of where he was and be ready to close down the space and then I think you saw a tough day for David Villa based on the performances of Tim Parker and Aaron Long.
“Our backline is our best we’ve ever had. They can defend 1 v 1, they physically can handle moments. They’re really good defenders.”
Parker himself also spoke highly of the performance. He believes his connection with Aaron Long is getting stronger with each passing match, with the strength of it on display on Saturday.
“David Villa is a great striker and obviously creates a lot of opportunities,” Parker said. “He’s dangerous. Obviously when you can get him playing the way you want him to play, it plays to your advantage and you know you’re doing a good job.”
The players, ultimately, enjoyed the day as much as their happy fans.
“It was a lot of fun,” Parker said. “I think the atmosphere is great. I’m used to watching it from afar, being firsthand it lives up to the hype.”