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Queens is Blue: NYCFC down Red Bulls 2-1 at Citi Field

New York City defeated the Red Bulls in Queens behind goals from Hannes Wolf and Mounsef Bakrar and another strong showing from its defense.

That match-winning goal feeling. Photo © Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

New York City FC faced the New York Red Bulls for the first time at Citi Field in the 28th edition of the Hudson River Derby. NYCFC won 2-1, which is their first win over the Red Bulls since September 17, 2022.

New York City came out quickly to begin things, with Hannes Wolf scoring his second goal in back-to-back matches in the third minute. NYCFC was able to break the Red Bull press and create a chance from open play, resulting in an early lead.

The Red Bulls had the last laugh of the first half, as Cameron Harper silenced the crowd at Citi Field with a crossbar-down blast from outside of the box to level the game heading into halftime. New York City was caught disorganized defensively after a turnover in the midfield, leading to the equalizer.

NYCFC did not start the second half well but was able to slow the Red Bulls' high-energy pace with a goal from Mounsef Bakrar. The goal came from a patient, well-executed New York City attack that saw Wolf play a pass to Tayvon Gray, who found Bakrar for the easy finish.

From there, NYCFC made defensive substitutions and successfully held on to win their ninth Hudson River Derby and move up to third in the Eastern Conference.


New York City: 12 shots, 4 shots on target, 57.6% possession, 542 passes, 91.3% pass accuracy, 10 fouls, 3 saves

Red Bulls: 14 shots, 4 shots on target, 42.4% possession, 366 passes, 85.3% pass accuracy, 10 fouls, 2 saves

• New York City, Hannes Wolf, 3'
• Red Bulls, Cameron Harper, 45+1'
• New York City, Mounsef Bakrar, 64'

Attendance: 30,731

Fast start

For the second straight game, New York City scored the first goal of the game after less than five minutes of play. As expected, the Red Bulls started the game high-pressing NYCFC and forcing them to push back.

Courtesy g+ GameFlow

Despite this, New York City was able to successfully break the press and impressively play out of the back, with Matt Freese starting the play. It was a passing play that featured Kevin O'Toole then pass to Santiago Rodríguez, who played Malachi Jones in behind. Jones was able to pick out Wolf, who patiently waited to shoot the ball, sending two Red Bull defenders to the floor before opening the scoring.

It was Wolf's second goal of the season after opening his NYCFC account with a stunner of a free kick against Philadelphia on Wednesday. The Austrian started off the season slowly but has since found his footing and is in excellent form. He has three assists and nine big chances created, the fourth-most in MLS.

Mounsef Bakrar gets his goal

New York City ended two long droughts in the win over the Red Bulls. In addition to it being their first win over their Hudson River rivals since September 2022, Bakrar scored his first goal of the season and his first goal since the 2-0 win over Orlando in September 2023.

The goal came from a well-worked NYCFC attack. Wolf dribbled into the box under pressure and played a pass to Gray, who perfectly found Bakrar for the simple finish past Carlos Coronel. New York City was able to slowly but surely break down the Red Bull's defense and create a golden chance in the final third as Bakrar scored the game-winner.

After the goal, Bakrar ran over to Nick Cushing and jumped into his arms, saying "Thank you," which Cushing revealed after the game. Cushing went on to say that Bakrar doesn't have to thank him and that he knows he is a hard worker who has the ability to be one of the best strikers in club history.

Defense tames the Red Bulls

The Red Bulls came to Queens having scored eight goals in their last two games. Lewis Morgan, Elias Manoel, and Emil Forsberg were all in good form heading into the matchup.

It only took a thunder strike from Harper to beat Freese, who had three saves in the game. All three of Freese's saves were crucial, stopping the Red Bulls from taking the lead early in the second half.

Thiago Martins and Birk Risa had another strong showing, combining for four clearances, three blocks, and three recoveries. O'Toole got forward and was involved in NYCFC's attack as well as getting back defensively with the help of Jones' high-energy press.

Gray was the clear-cut standout out of the backline, getting the assist on the Bakrar goal as well as making four interceptions and three recoveries. The Jamaican almost scored his first goal for New York City in the 14th minute off a half-volley attempt, but Coronel parried his efforts away.

Up next

NYCFC will travel to Foxborough, Massachusetts, on Saturday for their game against New England Revolution. This will be the second meeting between the teams this season, with New York City coming out victorious 2-0 last time at Yankee Stadium.

• Red Bulls, Cameron Harper, yellow card, foul 25′
• NYCFC, James Sands, yellow card, foul 32'
• Red Bulls, Frankie Amaya, yellow card, poor sportsmanship 65'
• Red Bulls, Sean Nealis, yellow card, poor sportsmanship 67'
• Red Bulls, John Tolkin, yellow card, foul 90'
• Red Bulls, Sean Nealis, red card (second yellow), 90+3
• Referee: Rosendo Mendoza
• Assistant referees: Logan Brown, Kevin Lock
• Fourth official: JC Griggs
• VAR: Michael Radchuk
• Assistant VAR: Tom Supple