Sunday was a hot day at Red Bull Arena for the match up between the New York Red Bulls and New York City FC, so much so that hydration breaks were used. The action on the field was hotter. Frank Lampard and Dax McCarty got into a staring contest less than ten minutes into the match. NYC FC manager Patrick Vieria was sent off in the 34th minute for cursing out Mark Geiger and Jesse Marsch during a hydration break. Four goals were scored in the opening half including a rare PK being awarded to the Red Bulls.
The second half wasn't as explosive, probably due to the aforementioned heat. The Red Bulls did manage to score a 4th goal midway through the half when Bradley Wright-Phillips took on a long ball and worked his way around Josh Saunders for a goal. It proved to be the final goal of the game as the home fans went away happy and NYC FC left with more than a few people who will be unavailable in their next game.
Judging by how Wright-Phillips has played against NYC FC this year, you'd think he wants to play them every week. BWP scored a brace in this game and four overall this season. HIs two goals also brought BWP level with team legend Juan Pablo Angel's record of goals scored in all competition at 62, and brought him within 2 of JPA's team record of 58 goals in MLS.
The Red Bulls gave up a goal to Thomas McNamara in the 43rd minute. It was the first goal given up at home in 598 minutes dating back to April. It is admittedly a beautiful strike from McNamara, one that Luis Robles would've had a hard time stopping no matter where he was. It's amazing though to think that the Red Bulls held their opponents scoreless in the rough equivalent of 6 games and 60 minutes worth of playing time at Red Bull Arena.
2nd Half Plan B
The Red Bulls plan recently in the second half, when they have the lead, is to back off and eventually play with 5 at the back. This has led to losses and draws from a winning position. Today was different. They did back off on the high press, but not to the same level as in weeks past. When it was 4-1 in stoppage time, they were still pressing for a 5th goal. They're passing was also much better leading to a better job of keeping possession. While NYC FC got some chances in, they didn't have the late pressure that RBNY has been facing recently. Maybe more importantly, the Marsch didn't make defensive substitutions, opting for like for like changes. It allowed the team to keep the shape and playing style that got them in lead. Sure, they weren't as aggressive as in the first half, but they proved they could actually back off and close out a game.