It was a poor second half that doomed the Red Bulls in the Bronx as they fall to New York City FC by a final of five goals to two. Valentin Castellanos converted a hat trick to claim the full three points for the blue side.
Castellanos opened the scoring in the 12th minute with a leaping header from a cross by Maxi Morales. In the second half, Castellanos converted a quick strike beating Ryan Meara to the far post in the 76th minute. Then converted a penalty eight minutes later to become the second NYCFC player to earn a hat trick in the Hudson River Derby since David Villa did it back in 2017.
But the Red Bulls did have a solid opening 45 minutes that saw both Brian White and Cristian Cásseres Jr both get on the scoresheet with big shots. White leveled the score in the 18th minute with a smashed drive from outside the box assisted by Cásseres.
But in the 38th minute, the roles were reversed as White in traffic held the ball, made a nice pass to Casserers as he hit it one time, deflecting it off Maxime Chanot and harmfully rolling into the net for the lead. Yet at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half, the Red Bulls defense were caught asleep as Gary Mackay-Steven leveled the score and then Alex Ring in the 51st minute banged one off the bottom of the crossbar and over the line.
There would be no comeback for the Red Bulls in this one after Castellanos added to his goal tally late in the match following more lackadaisical defending, and their five-match unbeaten streak came to an end. A tough pill to swallow for interim manager Bradley Carnell as he saw some problems out there from the backline.
“Obviously we’ve been on a good run of form, and coming into this game with high hopes. Always in a derby game, there’s always moments in a game that are turning points” said Carnell. “Unfortunately we go ahead 2-1, and then just concede straight after, and have a good chat at halftime and then a few minutes just after the second half starts we get caught in this little wave and then we’re 3-2 down. Yeah, it’s a crazy game, from the get go, I didn’t feel we had a grip on the game. It’s a little bit disappointing and these are moments for me, as a coach, learning moments for sure.”
“I thought I didn’t set the team up for success. I just felt that yeah, was it me in certain moments getting ahead of myself, letting my thoughts wander? So yeah, I’m disappointed at myself first and foremost, and I’ll take this one, all on my cap, and yeah, big apologies to the fans, because this hurts the most and certain games like this, where we want to achieve more and yeah, really make a statement in the league and show where we are and who we believe to be.”
“And then we just get our feet taken away from us. Disappointing for sure, learning moments for sure, but we’ll bounce back, and work harder than ever to finish the season in the right way.”
With the final match of the regular season schedule coming next Sunday, the Red Bulls are going to face a Toronto FC side still looking to back up their claim to the Supporters Shield. Maybe it’s up to the Red Bulls to spoil that party once again.