If you’re apprehensive about tomorrows installment in the #HudsonRiverDerby series, you aren’t alone. Many of the HRB writers will be consoling and re-affirming each other between now and kickoff tomorrow, myself included. I’ve made sure that I compiled a solid to-do list to keep me busy until 1:30pm Saturday.
Before we jump into an obvious click-bait-y article, let me tell a story. It was a bright summer day, the heat was hot but it wasn’t humid, so you could get over it with some shade and a cold beer. A friend and I who share a passion for following the Football Club from NY were going to get together at the one pro-soccer bar in Albany in order to watch the game and check off the beer and shade theoretical boxes. We showed up donning our NYCFC gear excited to watch our boys on TV in public! Hoping that we would see at least a competitive match in which the Boys in Blue came out on top, we ordered our ice cold beers and sat down just in time for the national anthem. After we “cheers’d” each other we sat down for one of the most brutal beatdowns I’ve ever had to watch given to a team that I support.
I’ve tried my very best to put this game from memory but what still sticks out is that fact that I could tell very early on in the game that it was going to get ugly, and get ugly it did. The game got so bad that the bartender offered my friend and I “sympathy” shots because they had noticed that we were on the wrong side of the match and (the worst part) felt bad for us. It was around the 4th-5th goal (they began to blur together amongst the mediocrity) that this act of empathy gave humanity a +5 for empathy. I’m a supporter of plenty of sports teams that have histories of never ever being good, but this was the lowest I’ve ever felt from one game.
So that happened. But some other things happened too, and now we are going to blast some Run the Jewels and look forward to the game tomorrow because we have legitimate reasons to.
- David Villa For one of the most prolific goal scorers in league and spanish football history, Villa has yet to have the impact on the #HudsonRiverDerby that one would come to expect. Something has to break, and that something is almost always the opposing teams ability to stop the Captain.
- This year’s different You might say “Well of course, that’s how time works. Time keeps moving forward and everything changes.” That may be the case, but what does Time have on Yangel Herrera who just carved up the U-20’s or a surging sophomore Jumpin’ Jack Harrison? Or a bolstered defense that is led by Maxime Chanot and Lex Callens? This years different.
- Viera has had time to game plan around the loss of Maxi. A quick recap of last weeks US Open Cup loss to these very same Red Bulls: The Blues were pretty dominant early on, showing that they could be productive against the Red Bulls favored style of high press. That is until Maxi Moralez had to be taken out of the game due to injury. From there the wheels came off of NYC’s offense and the team stalled in attempted attack after attempted attack and eventually the Red Bulls capitalized and punched home the winner. The team looked lost without Maxi orchestrating the midfield and Viera didn’t have an answer in attack. Since then, they have played a sloppy game against Seattle and Viera has had plenty of time to work out a strategy for the team to be productive without el frasquito. I predict we see a new line up and I’m hopeful of a different attack strategy that involves a one Ugo Okoli.
- The New York City Football Pigeons have a player named Tommy McNamara, better known as TMac. Even sans hair this man is capable of anything that he believes in. Although he can seem a little lost at times, he brings the sauce most games and is there when it counts. I want to see a Tommy Mac 40-yard wonder strike actually connect tomorrow. Will it into being my fair-skinned friend.
- NYCFC are the better team. This is a bold statement, Cotton, but I think that it will pay off for them. Red Bulls like to play with a chip on their shoulder, a big chip that was placed there the moment Don Garber announced a second New York team. They often come out hungry against the Blues and look to pounce on each and every mistake made. But especially of late, NYC are the better team as they show more and more signs of a club maturing to the MLS. Yes, we will be without an essential player in Maxi Moralez, but we will field a formidable team more than capable of a handing a proper Patrick Viera beatdown on the boys across the Hudson.
There you have it. I feel better now. I hope you do too. If you have some more reasons that NYCFC will win tomorrow, I can only speak for us here at HRB— we would love to hear them, so please share in the comments section!