After a week of fixture congestion the Red Bulls are finally on a good stretch of rest, relaxation and hard training sessions as they get ready for their next match at Red Bull Arena against NYCFC.
For the final time this 2017 regular season the NY Derby will come to an end with one of a few ways the Empire State Building could light up one of two colors. Obviously with a win or a draw this series would go blue for the very first time.
But if there is a win and the team in red can score three goals or more against the blue side, then the situation would remain status quo as the Red Bulls would once again be the toast of the town.
But for the very first time in this series we have seen some changes that never thought would happen so quickly and maybe it shows that there has been some improvement to mature how these two sides play against each other.
“A lot of people will say that NYCFC has gotten some results so it’s finally become a rivalry, I would say that it’s been like this from the beginning.” said Jesse Marsch, “I don’t think there has been short changing what the experience has been like, It’s been really big and here’s where we are.
We know it’s important for the fans and it’s been diluted a little bit because we have played so many games, but what keeps it so strong is that both teams are very good. Both teams need points in the table to continue to push their season forward in a good way. It’s a big match against two teams.”
Sacha Kljestan is well aware of what is making NYCFC go right now and that is their Spanish superstar David Villa. Last time they faced the blue side was at Yankee Stadium and he earned the first hat trick in this rivalry.
“If we look back towards the Open cup game where we won, the center backs did a very good job.” said Kljestan, “They were really tight on him every time he touched the ball he had somebody close to him. But at the end we made a few mistakes against him in the Bronx.
If we limit the space and time on Villa, then we should be able to get the win.”
Bradley Wright-Phillips has had a great time scoring goals against the blue side of New York as he has converted ten times inside nine game in all competition with his fourth brace in their last visit to the Bronx.
But the real question is if there is a real rivalry between these two sides as last seasons golden boot winner was edged by David Villa who was awarded the 2016 Most Valuable Player.
“There’s no personal rivalry. I’m getting annoyed about that question, it sounds like I’m talking more about him than my own children.” said Wright-Phillips, “I don’t care how many goals he scores, or how many goals I score as long as we win the game.
This rivalry is respected by both team as you can see we enjoy it and they enjoy it, we are expecting a big crowd. The two results in the league has made it more meaningful to us and we don’t want to get swept in the league.”
Obviously the Red Bulls are trying to avoid getting swept in league play for the first time in this three year series and if they do come out victorious they can feel good about themselves moving forward.
The best quote of the day is from Kemar Lawrence who is all smiles and ready to compete against the blue side. “We know he is a dangerous player, tomorrow will be the day that we don’t respect him.” said Lawrence, “I already told the guys that tomorrow I have no respect for nobody from that game.
Once the whistle goes off in the first minute thru the end of the match, God gave me the ability to play against the top players and I will do that.”
But the one thing that they have going for them is the victory over the blue side in their first US Open Cup meeting back on June 14th as a Daniel Royer goal converted inside the second half advanced them to this crazy run where they have a chance to secure their first cup championship at Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday, September 20th.
“There’s a lot of excitement and anticipation in that match, but it’s far enough away right now that the focus will be on the steps we are going to take before that one comes.” said Marsch, “We have pride as a team as we arise for that challenge in Cincinnati, but ultimately emerged. there is also a sense of calm and ease. We feel this team is headed towards the right direction and gain momentum going forward.”
On the injury front Daniel Royer’s status is running and in a good way while Aurelien Collin might be available off the bench with a stint for the USL side in Ottawa this weekend with his Plantar Fasciitis.
For Sacha Kljestan he is very lucky not to be suspended by the DisCo as his yellow card was enough to satisfy the committee out in Portland while Felipe earned a fine for his actions.
But this will be another fun time within the NYC Tri-State area as these two sides will battle at Red Bull Arena, for another exciting episode of what color NYC will be.