NYCFC seek revenge vs. Red Bulls in Hudson River Derby
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The latest edition of the Hudson River Derby carries some extra importance, as the New York Red Bulls visit New York City FC on Saturday in a match with major postseason implications.
NYCFC and the Red Bulls are respectively in third and fourth place in the Eastern Conference, both with designs on overtaking Atlanta United at the top of the table. The Red Bulls won the first meeting of the season between the two local rivals, topping New York City by a 2-1 score on July 14.
Since that match, NYCFC have posted a 5-2-0 record, including wins in their last two games. New York City (12-5-8, 44 points) defeated the Columbus Crew 1-0 on Wednesday in a match that left head coach Domenec Torrent with mixed feelings.
"I say congratulations just for the three points (to) our players," Torrent said. "But maybe we play one of the best first halves of the season and one of the worst second halves of the season. I'm not happy about that."
The Red Bulls (12-10-5, 41 points) are also coming off a tough midweek victory, a 2-1 road result over D.C. United on Wednesday. Despite having less than three days to recover from a physical match, New York head coach Chris Armas promised "we'll be up for" facing their Big Apple archenemies.
"Those games you almost have to calm the guys down, and let the emotion be used to focus and be in on every play," Armas said.
Valentin Castellanos scored the only goal in New York City FC's win over the Crew. The midfielder has 10 goals this season, with five coming in his last four games.
Facing off against Castellanos and the rest of NYCFC's high-scoring attack is a somewhat undermanned Red Bulls back line. New York defender Amro Tarek will miss the game due to a suspension after picking up a red card on Wednesday.
The Red Bulls are 7-4-2 in all-time MLS action against New York City FC. Three of NYCFC's victories in the Hudson River Derby, however, have come on their home pitch.
New York City FC have a 7-1-4 home record and are one of just five MLS teams with one or fewer home losses this season.