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Hudson River Derby 2023: NEW YORK IS RED


J.J. Pavlick

Photo Credit Soccer LI Magazine

The two sides come in struggling this season, one more than the other. For NYCFC it's been the injury bug mixed with some poor play, For Red Bull it's been a season of disappointment so far. Injuries have amassed to an astronomic level, they saw their pure strike suspended for 6 matches this being the last game, then there are the facts, the other 3 strikes have 3 goals combined each having a lonely one goal. The biggest improvement for the Red Bull side is their new head coach, aka manager Troy Lesesne, who captured his first victory during the U.S. Open Cup 2023 game versus D.C. United. Omir Fernandez netted the only goal of the game to get the win for the struggling side. Will lightning strike twice for the new coach? We will find out shortly, the stadium is slowly filling in, not a sellout but one of the larger attendances this season may be a bit bigger than Star Wars night it will be close.

Both teams had their pre-derby supporter rallies in NYC, I will post photos and videos bottom of the article. Southward is present in a large number for this match. The question is do they stay in the stands, or do they walk out again? Most stayed in the stands for the Union game though they showed in smaller numbers than usual. This match sees mixed numbers for each group that makes up the ward. NYCFC supporters showed up in large numbers and can be heard easily over the DJ. Ted Unkle will be the man in the middle for the mega showdown in Harrison. The trumpets are blaring and here we go it's Derby Day and let's get it going!!!

coach Troy Lesesne pre game
Photo Credit Bad Dawg Sports

Red Bull starts with the kickoff to start the match, they quickly go at the NYCFC backline, and Harper is dispossessed by the goal line. Now Barlow commits an unnecessary foul when his team was striking in on goal. NYCFC counters quickly and Coronel comes out to save the day. Both supporter groups are battling out in their chants and the game is as expected high energy and brutal physically. There is no love lost between these teams at all. Harper fails to make the needed run down the line, leaving Dylan Nealis in a sea of blue trouble in the midfield. If Red Bull wants to take 3 points tonight, they will need to click on all cylinders. NYCFC with its best chance and it's thwarted by Tolkin and S. Nealis. Edelman saves Harper just outside the box in what would've been another costly mistake in the final third for him in just 10' of play. Ted Unkle is letting the guys play tonight, Tom Barlow thinks he is Zlatan for a moment and misses a golden chance at goal with his halfhearted Taekwondo high kick at the ball inside the 18-yard mark at the 12'. Tolkin stretches the NYCFC backline with a long 55-yard pass down the line toward Barlow, it gets played out by NYCFC for a throw-in. Dru just plows through Keaton Parks and it's an easy foul call for Unkel in the 18'. Red Bull almost finds glory, but Edelman's shot off the steal and hits the outside of the netting from 20 yards out and to the right of the goal, the shot missed 1st post. Red Bull has looked good in this half so far approaching the 20'. D. Nealis and Tolkin have given the NYCFC midfield fits this match and Reyes is staying home with S. Nealis to provide that backline seal to keep NYCFC at bay. Someone needs to find Barlow a soccer career soon, the kid just isn't built for the big leagues. He is at best a League Two guy in England. The only man who can mess up an easy breakaway is nonother than Tom Barlow in the 24' just gave NYCFC a huge break. He took a horrible first touch and the ball rolls quietly to Barraza who was nervous till he saw the bad touch. NYCFC with another testing drive to break down the Red Bull backline. it nearly worked this time, but Harper headed the cross out of the box in time.

Photo Credit Soccer LI Magazine

Through 27' we're tied 0 - 0 still, Red Bull have had solid chances and NYCFC have had none, yet we still have no goals on the board. The Red Bull has 4 shots - none for NYCFC, but only 1 of the shots ever made it on target. Harper tries to cross the ball to Barlow, but NYC plays it out for a throw-in. As we approach the final third of the 1st half NY makes a counter run and Gabriel Pereira just misses placing a beaut of a shot inside the 2nd post upper 90 in the 30'. That was the best chance of the half for NYC, Red Bull needs to stay aggressive and alert, and Barlow needs to do the job the Red Bull is paying him for (Score). NYC is starting to pick up the pace in which it attacks the Red Bull midfield and backline. So far, the guys in Red are bending but not breaking. How long can they sustain this time of onslaught? Nick Cushing is not happy with Gray playing the ball back to his defender and not pushing the Red Bull deep. Keaton Parks was issued a yellow card for a hard tackle at midfield in the 38' by Ted Unkle. Casseres Jr tries to play Barlow a through ball, but Barlow was sleeping and it's an NYC counter in on goal and Coronel makes the save in the 40'. What a ball from Gray to beat the entire Red Bull back line, Gabriel is just not able to run onto it before Coronel gets there in the 42'. Sean Nealis cleans up the mess in the box in the 44' before Talles Magno could get to it and fire off a shot. The fourth official indicates a minimum of 1', the Red Bull have lost their possession lead and now only have one more shot than NYC. Troy needs to regroup the guys and remove Barlow at half if he wants to come out with a victory tonight. So far Troy has held his own and made the right moves strategy-wise, unfortunately, Barlow has let him down like he let Struber down.

Cam Harper 1 v 1 defending
Photo Credit Soccer LI Magazine

Troy sticks to his guns and keeps the same lineup out there, not sure how much longer he can pray for Barlow to find talent. NYC breaks in behind the back line again, this time in the 47' and a bad touch saves them as it goes for a goal kick. Red Bull needs to change the momentum quickly, NY has solved them, and it won't be long if nothing changes. 50' Red Bull counter in deep but another costly turnover and offside dooms the chance at goal. K. O'Toole with a shot at goal but deflected out by S. Nealis for a corner kick, the corner played too far and out for a goal kick in the 53'. S. Nealis & Chanot came off the field due to injury and the 4th holds him and Chanot for a minute before calling them back on. Too slow Barlow strikes again failing to find the end of a through-ball from the midfield to the goal 57'. In the 58' the Red Bull wasted a free kick from 35 yards out when Casseres Jr played the ball straight out of play nowhere near Harper. Seems Harper may have missed a play call or Casseres miss heard the play but that was brutal. How can one forward be this bad in Major League Soccer nightly, the July window can't come fast enough for the Red Bull. NYC is knocking in the 62', spreading the Red Bull midfield wide, big play by Edelman to release the pressure but then Omir gives it right back, and now NYC counters. The Red Bull make some substitutions bringing on Wiki, and Stroud for Harper, and Dru Yearwood in the 63'. Wiki with a blast, saved, and big rebound, and Barlow was nowhere to be found for the tap-in. Wiki wasted no time getting at the goal, nearly scoring in the 65'. Finally, the Barlow nightmare is over, Burke comes on in the 68', also a yellow card was issued to Reyes for the foul on Santiago Rodriguez. Reyes with a near-fatal turnover in the 70' gets bailed out by Casseres Jr. Tolkin and earns a corner kick in the 71', he takes it but Barraza comes out and catches it. Sean Nealis was issued a yellow card in the 72' for a foul at midfield. Now Reyes is down after a nasty challenge by NYCFC Rodriguez. Medical gets him to his feet, he is trying to put pressure on it, he seems ok now and waved immediately back on the field. Wiki Carmona tries to hit Tolkin but the NYC defender stuck his leg out, the ball finds Omir Fernandez and he makes NYC pay with a perfect shot over the keeper's head toward the 2nd post. Red Bull takes a 1-0 lead in the 76'. That's two goals this season and also back-to-back games with a goal. If the arena had a top on it, it would've been blown off the building. The strike on the net came from 18 yards out and was perfectly placed, you can feel the atmosphere around the Red Bulls changing. The doom and gloom is fading fast under Troy Lesesne. In the 81' Tolkin is shown a yellow card after a hard foul 30 yards to the right of the goal. The free kick is dangerous and a foul in the box saves the Red Bull lead in the 82'. NYCFC is starting to buzz in the Red Bull back third, a corner kick is cleared, and the counter is on, but Stroud holds things up instead of going for the jugular of NYC. Stroud was thrown down in the box by Park, fans want a VAR check, but Unkle says no but we will see. Ndam is coming on as the fans Chant VAR, VAR, VAR. The replay booth says play on and Unkle got the call right, it was a hard challenge but a clean one. 87' and the building is going insane, trying to will the lads to victory against their heated rivals across the Hudson River. Ndam comes on for Fernandez in the 86' for the Red Bull. In the 88' Casseres Jr earns a yellow card and NYC brings on Jasson for Ledezma. Red Bull nearly had a breakaway with Wiki and Stroud chasing the ball down, but it rolls too fast for them to capitalize on the NYC error. Red Bull takes the throw and kills off some clock, as the 4th official shows 9' minimum added. Cory Burke has a 1 v 1 and messes it up in the 90'+2' that would've sealed the game for the Red Bull side. Burke gets another shot from 18 yards this time but sends it sailing into the 5th row behind the goal in the 90'+3'. Edelman comes up big stealing the ball off of Rodriguez's foot ending their threat at goal. The Red Bulls will kill as much clock as they can with this restart. The fans are feeling it, the Southward is buzzing, but Burke with a bad touch goes over the goal line for a goal kick. Not much time is left to this match, Wiki is flying out there to keep pressure on the back line of NYC. New York is Red tonight, Burke earns a big corner kick in the dying minutes after nearly scoring a bizarre goal. Unkle set for the final whistle, but the Red Bull see a player of theirs go down, Ndam gets up and walks it off. This should be it right here Coronel sends it deep, throw Red Bull, Corner Red Bull. Unkle adds a little more time, NYC rushes for a last try at a tie, and Edelman clears it for a corner kick. Game Over NY IS RED!!!!!!!!!!

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