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Leagues Cup '23: New York Red Bulls vs New York City FC


J.J. Pavlick

These two clubs are no strangers to each other, they've faced off in some ferocious battles over the years. The two sides don't like each other and no matter the standings they want to make the other hurt badly.

Tonight, will be the first time we see Dante Vanzeir face off in a Hudson River Derby match as he wasn't available for the first round of this year's meetings. Another first will be NYCFC's newest striker Monsef Bakrar who has looked deadly in his limited time with the club. The battle of the strikers will be interesting as both are creative and dangerous on the ball from anywhere on the pitch. The issue both sides have is neither has a real "Point Guard" to feed the ball into the final third from a central location. Both rely heavily on crosses into the box and long-distance-caught-you-type passes.

The crowd for the derby is dismal at best, these matchups usually see crowds in the 20k+ range tonight is a far cry from that, just minutes before the starting ceremonies. We shall see if more file in during the opening ceremonies to the match. Predictions based on the lineup's NYCFC 2 - 0 RBNY. NYCFC seems to want the trophy for their case in Orangeburg, NY. While Red Bull seems to think it's a USL tournament they can walk through. If the backline shows up for the Red Bulls tonight, we could see penalties decide this game tonight in Harrison, NJ.

The two supporters' sections have shown up for the match kind of neither has filled their sections but there is a fair-sized crowd for a Thursday night game. The battle for New York and the basement strugglers will commence shortly and we will see how round 2 of the Derby goes. Both sides usually face off twice a year this year they will see each other three times, the Red Bulls took round 1. The size of the crowd you would think it's the Derby between NYCFC 2 and RBNY 2 and not the first teams which is beyond sad.

You would not know the Red Bulls are playing in the home arena tonight, the Third Rail is louder than the Southward by a country mile. The two sections of supporters say it all in the dislike and disdain between the clubs. Let the battle of Dante vs Monsef begin, both came to their clubs with high expectations and now they face off for the first time ever. The winner will face Philadelphia or DC next round.

Monsef vs Nealis round 1 goes to Nealis who just obliterated the striker into the ground, sending a friendly reminder that this will be a physical match. Just 8' into the match, the two sides are getting a feel for the other's formation. The strikers have been kept at bay, Dante has had a few good looks and a solid pass in the box that Barlow stared at instead of making a run to connect on in the opening 2'.

Just 10' in and its hands down the softest called match of the tournament, Concacaf is usually known for highly physical games, and this is a look at them and I'm whistling type match tonight which is extremely sad to see.

Omir Fernandes converts the penalty kick in the 31' after Gray went full WWE on two Red Bulls players. The Red Bulls take the 1 - 0 lead about in the final third of play in the first half. A light sprinkle is falling in Harrison, NJ in the 38' of play in the first half. The penalty kick was taken to the lower corner of the 1st post and the goalkeeper dove toward the 2nd post lower corner.

Another great ball into the box by striker Dante Vanzeir is left to waste by his teammates. It's odd saying a striker is setting up midfielders but such is the way in Red Bull Country where million-dollar strikers set up their midfield teammates instead of the natural way of midfielders feeding strikers.

The first half was lackluster at best, with many mistakes made on both sides and lots of soft calls. The Red Bulls took advantage of a poor play by Gray in the box and Omir converted the chance. In the 11 v 11 play, Red Bull has squandered numerous chances and is lucky to have the lead. NYCFC has struggled when trailing at halftime this season in MLS play but in the Leagues Cup, they did come back when trailing.

NYCFC makes two substitutions at half bringing on Pellegrini and Haak replacing Ledezma and Jasson.

Andre Reyes pulls down Pellegrini 18 yards to the right of the goal just outside the box. Reyes is shown a yellow card on the play in the 48'. NYCFC squanders the opportunity but quickly gets the ball back and counters, requiring Coronel to make a save.

New York is Red via a penalty kick in the 31' of play, otherwise, neither side did enough to win tonight. We would be going to a penalty shootout if Tyson Gray played the ball properly in the box. Nick is not going to be happy with his side's performance tonight, especially with how his players lost their cool and made a costly error in the box. Wouldn't be shocked if NYCFC parts ways with Gray after this match.

Philadelphia wins in the 6th round of the penalty shootout, so the #RBNY is heading to Chester, PA.

Photo Credit: © Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

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