Who: NYCFC vs New York Red Bulls
When: Saturday, August 24th @ 07:00 pm ET
Line: NYCFC +100 | Draw +280 | New York Red Bulls +235
The table could not be set any better for Saturday night’s edition of the Hudson River Derby at Yankee Stadium, the second and final regular-season match-up between the local rivals in 2019.
Each of the teams is coming off a win on Wednesday night, with NYCFC dispatching Columbus in the Bronx while the New York Red Bulls took three points and the Atlantic Cup off of old rivals DC United in a thriller.
Those results leave NYCFC one point behind joint Eastern Conference leaders Atlanta United and Philadelphia Union. The Red Bulls are in fourth place, three points behind NYC.
And for a little added spice to an already potent rivalry, NYCFC has likely still not gotten over the circumstances that led to the Red Bulls 2-1 victory on July 14th in round one of this MLS Heavyweight bout.
The controversy surrounded the game-winning goal, alertly scored by RBNY from a quickly taken throw-in by Alex Muyl while NYCFC hesitated, waiting for the corner kick, as called by the linesman. Referee Alan Kelly, considered by many to be the top referee in the league, initially said that he had overruled the corner and that he had informed both teams.
Speaking to Pro Soccer USA’s Glenn Crooks a few days after the match, Howard Webb contradicted that statement. Webb, the general manager of the Professional Referees Organization, conceded that the officiating crew was at fault for the confusion that led to Royer’s game-winner.
“With hindsight, the referee should have stopped the game at that point and indicated to everybody to give clarity that the restart was going to be a throw-in.” Webb added, “there was a verbal indication to the assistant that it should be a throw-in, but there was no time to communicate to the NYC players.” “To be clear,” the former English Premier League official added,” there was no communication from the referee to the players.”
So, there’s that.
NYCFC vs New York Red Bulls Preview
NYCFC enters the game at even money. They’ve been the better side overall this season and as of late (LWLWW to RBNY’s LWLDW). They have the league’s third best point differential at +14, trailing Atlanta’s +15 and LAFC’s absurd +46. Probability models favor NYCFC as well:
However, the Red Bulls will be riding high after taking the full complement of points home from their trip to our nation’s capital. Daniel Royer has been particularly strong, pairing with Alejandro Romero Gamarra for goals against DC. For the Red Bulls to really have a chance this match, Aaron Long will need to have a strong performance. His game against DC was statistically his best game–including international competitions–since May against Montreal.
With MLS assist leader Maxi Moralez, Heber, Valentín Castellanos, and Alexandru Mitrita, RBNY have to contend with a lot of firepower. If it’s anything less than a Premier League level performance from Long and Michael Murillo, it could be a long night for the MLS originals