HARRISON – The latest matchup for the Hudson River Derby took place at Red Bull Arena. The New York Red Bulls welcomed their occasional tenant NYCFC in the Round of 32 for Leagues Cup. Once again, New York showed their true color was red as the Red Bulls advance to the Round of 16.
Designed as a competition between MLS and Liga MX, the advantage has tipped to the former. Carlos Vela of LAFC has had some thoughts on this. But it is what it is. Here’s how this performance proved itself worthy of the Great White Way.
Leagues Cup: Red Bulls Advance In Wicked Fashion
The Hudson River Derby plays out, more often than not, in the court of public opinion. Red and Blue fans from all over the tri-state area convene for these matchups to cheer and chant for their teams. The away support section is at its most robust. NYCFC fans also seem to have no qualms about seating themselves throughout the stadium. It makes for a raucous experience. With the exception of a homophobic chant near the end of the match, the crowd was one of the best of the season.
READ MORE: New York Goes Red in League Play
A foul in the first half hour of play put Omir Fernandez in position to open the scoring. Fernandez, a Bronx native, was the sole goal scorer in the last Derby. Once he converted the penalty, the home squad took hold of the match. Even on the other side of halftime, the game appeared to be well in hand for the Red Bulls. They held the line for the remainder of the match.
31′ THE BRONX BOY CONVERTS!#RBNY 1, #NYCFC 0
For the second time this season, Omir Fernandez gets a goal against New York’s crosstown rivals. It also marks Omir’s second penalty goal of the season across all competitions.
First shot of the game is a goal. #LeaguesCup2023
— James Birle (@jbirle9) August 4, 2023
RBNY manager Troy Lesesne seems to have settled into his position. Feeble attempts at banter characterized him as a middle school principal in his first appearances at the helm. Now his leadership is clear and forceful, even if it earned him a booking in the previous Leagues Cup match. The spark on the sideline is reminiscent of Jesse Marsch. Lesesne told Last Word in the post-match press conference that “trying to create clear objectives for the group has been something that we’ve implemented since I took over, and not just being result-oriented.” So far, these objectives have yielded results for good, and that’s a welcome sign for the rest of the regular MLS season.
The Red Bulls travel to Chester and Subaru Park to face the Philadelphia Union in the Round of 16. When it comes to eliminating RBNY from competition, the Union has been their huckleberry. But if Lesesne’s lessons hold, the Red Bulls may advance.
READ MORE: Lesesne looks to rebuild RBNY
Photo Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports. Aug 3, 2023; Harrison, NJ, USA. New York Red Bulls midfielder Omir Fernandez (21) celebrates his penalty kick goal with midfielder Luquinhas (82) and forward Dante Vanzeir (13) during the first half against New York City FC at Red Bull Arena.