A new chapter will be added to the Hudson River Derby this week as the Red Bulls take on NYC FC in their first-ever Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup showdown.
There was shock and surprise all around when the Red Bulls drew arch-rival NYC FC for the fourth round of the tournament - a round usually involving MLS versus lower division teams.
But this edition of the Hudson River Derby will have a different feeling to it given the two teams' preference to use their B-teams for the opening round of the tournament. It would be fairly remarkable for NYC FC to deploy top players like David Villa and Andrea Pirlo at this stage of the contest. But nothing is impossible of course.
The Red Bulls will even have to use their B-team coach with Jesse Marsch forced to serve a sideline ban for being ejected in last year's loss to Philadelphia. Marsch's right-hand man, Chris Armas, will be taking the reins in his first-ever match as head coach of an MLS team.
He will need to make some quick adjustments to the back line as the team will be without both Kemar Lawrence and Michael Murillo, both of whom are with their national teams this week and unavailable for selection.
Luckily, a few key players will be available to fill the void.
CB Aurelien Collin is expected to be make his first appearance since sustaining an injury and should be ready for matchday. And Tyler Adams is returning from international duty and his high school prom, so he'll be available for selection as well.
Here is the RBNY predicted XI vs NYC FC:
Daniel Royer - Sacha Kljestan - Derrick Etienne Jr.
Tyler Adams - Felipe
Justin Bilyeu - Aaron Long - Aurelien Collin - Sal Zizzo
Much like almost every other cup tournament, the Open Cup has never been particularly kind to the Red Bulls. And with Marsch's proclamation earlier this season that the team will be focused on preparing for the MLS Cup playoffs instead of the regular season, we could very well see the team send out a complete B-squad just for experiment's sake.
One thing is for sure: The Red Bulls will certainly not be lacking for intensity against their Blue-colored rivals once the game kicks off.