The Hudson River Derby hasn’t been kind to New York City fans. It’s been a one-sided affair that’s mostly resulted in pain for Pigeons fans and joy for Red Bulls fans. The one-sided nature of this rivalry is best reflected by the contrasting fortunes of the team’s leading strikers. Going into today’s game, David Villa had scored just once in the eight games of the rivalry. Bradley Wright-Phillips, in contrast, had scored eight times and notched one assist on top of that.
Oh, did we say once? Make that twice. In the 28th minute, Villa took advantage of a mis-kicked pass that caromed off teammate Alexander Ring. Villa pounced on the ball, calmly rounded Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles, and slotted home.
The Pigeons controlled the run of play most of the first half, repeatedly testing Luis Robles and the Red Bulls backline. However, a defensive breakdown right before the half turned things on their head. Bradley Wright-Phillips was gifted time and space on the ball; when he has those things, he’s going to make you pay. And he did, shooting, scoring, and leveling the game for the Red Bulls.
It’s 1-1 at the half, and there’s everything to play for in the next 45 minutes.