NYCFC are playing on short rest but feeling good after their 2-0 triumph on Wednesday night over Atlas FC of Liga MX in the Campeones Cup — silverware has a way of lifting one’s spirits. New Jersey will be fully rested after coming off a professional 2-0 home win over New England Revolution last Saturday that officially punched their ticket to the postseason.
The Hudson Derby head-to-head has always favored New Jersey, which dominated in the early years when they beat New York City four consecutive times to start the series. Since then the matchup has been more even, with NYCFC posting a 5-1-3 record at home. New Jersey have won the three times they met in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup — all of this games were played at Red Bull Arena and have the cumulative score of 8-0.
NYCFC vs Red Bulls, all competitions
But history only counts for so much. NYCFC beat New Jersey at Red Bull Arena for just the second time ever last July when newly-appointed interim head coach Nick Cushing’s tactical masterclass shut down the vaunted press of the Red Bulls and New York City won 0-1.
Match: NYCFC vs New Jersey Red Bulls
Date and Time: Saturday, September 17, 1 pm ET
Venue: Yankee Soccer Stadium
Bruce Arena Forecast: Sunny, breezy, pleasant, 74˚F/23˚C
Watch: YES, ESPN+ (blackouts apply)
Stream: YES App
Listen: English and Spanish broadcasts on NYCFC Radio
• Player availability: Alfredo Morales (lower body) is out with a long-term injury. Héber is out with a muscle strain he picked up in Wednesday’s 2-0 win over Atlas FC in the Campeones Cup, and Maxime Chanot is unavailable after suffering an injury in training. Cushing revealed at the pregame press conference that Sean Johnson was in training but is questionable with a nagging injury.
• The injuries limit the tactical flexibility available to Cushing. Expect to see Thiago Martins and Alex Callens in the back, Talles Magno up top, and possibly Luis Barraza in goal.
• Callens is one yellow card away from serving a suspension. The defender better cool his jets — or make sure the foul is worth it.
• Things are getting spicy between Cushing and New Jersey head coach Gerhard Struber. Earlier in the week, Struber all but guaranteed a win over the “City Group,” and the gaffer was spotted in the stands in Wednesday’s game — there's nothing illegal about paying for a ticket to watch the opposition.
Cushing responded to Struber’s earlier press conference in a characteristically understated but confident manner. “He’s obviously confident,” Cushing said in Wednesday's post-game press conference. “Listen, I expect it, and I expect it because arguably the greatest ever performance of an NYCFC team against a Red Bull team was in their last defeat. Look, when you lose derby it's hard. I think for him when he lost the way that he lost I think that's difficult.”
The table is set for #HudsonRiverDerby.#RBNY coach Gerhard Struber guaranteed a win in tomorrow's edition at Yankee Stadium.#NYCFC coach Nick Cushing responded to that after winning #CampeonesCup ⬇️— Glenn Crooks (@GlennCrooks) September 16, 2022
City won the 1st #MLS derby this year, 1-0 at RBA.#NYCvRBNY #NYDerby pic.twitter.com/80Bhd07gy0
• A win will go a long way to seal NYCFC’s postseason spot. New York City need four points from their last three games to punch their playoff ticket.
• No word on New Jersey’s players availability yet, but forward Patryk Klimala was out against New England last week with an ankle injury. Dru Yearwood is suspended for the remained of the regular season for aggressively kicking a ball into the stands at Red Ball Arena and striking several spectators.
• Not only are the Red Bulls in third place in the Eastern Conference they lead all of MLS with 468 fouls committed, and opened up more than a 30-foul gap between them and Philadelphia Union and DC United.
• No official MLS stats are kept for flopping, but Red Bulls midfielder Luquinhas gets our vote for winning the Golden Dive. The talented 25-year-old Brazilian is so sensitive that he feels contact that other players wouldn't even notice, and his equilibrium is so delicate that he tumbles where others might quickly stumble and recover. More important, he has a dramatic relationship with gravity — where others fall down, Luquinhas first falls skyward then hits the ground with such force that he has no choice but to roll, roll, roll in order to dull a pain so profound you wonder if he will ever be able to play again.
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