Despite it’s short four-season history, the Hudson River Derby has quickly grown into one of the premier bouts in all of Major League Soccer. Contested between two formidable teams — the long lasting, yet underachieving New York Red Bulls and the flashy expansion side New York City FC — the bout has consistently produced classic moments, whether it be that one absolute decimation we’d much rather not talk about, David Villa’s big time hat trick, or NYCFC’s valiant 9-man draw this past weekend.
And the fans have shown up to see it.
This past weekend saw MLS host its third annual Heineken Rivalry Week, a game week packed to the brim with derbies and hotly contested matchup. And the third installment of 2018’s Hudson River Derby series saw New York reign supreme when it comes to people in attendance.
Good crowds for the main rivalry games in #RivalryWeek:#NYCFC vs #RBNY: 30,139#TFCLive vs #IMFC: 27,294#LAGalaxy vs #LAFC: 27,068#OCSC vs #ATLUTD: 25,058#RBNY vs #DCU: 22,324#RCTID vs #Sounders: 21,144#Dynamo vs #FCDallas: 16,544#Rapids96 vs #RSL: 16,669— Jason Foster (@JogaBonito_USA) August 27, 2018
️ #MLS ️ pic.twitter.com/R58hktpcoa
For their final (scheduled) battle with the rival Red Bulls, NYCFC had an attendance of 30,139, a near sell-out. That was good to beat out Toronto FC’s Canadian showdown with the Montreal Impact (27,294), “El Trafico” between Los Angeles FC and the LA Galaxy (27,068), as well as the Red Bulls’ Atlantic Cup match against DC United (22,324).
The fact that such a young rivalry has risen to the top in such a way is a testament to how the New York market has bought in to not just the rivalry, but to NYCFC as well. Though their recent form leaves a bit to desire, fans recognize that this a team with the potential to be a major player in not just North American soccer, but the New York sports market as a whole.
And in a city that expects a lot of its sports teams, NYCFC has gotten off to a strong start when it comes to stealing market share from the New Jersey-based RBNY.
Now, if only they could get a stadium...