On Sunday, New York City FC welcomed Hudson River Derby rivals, New York Red Bulls to Yankee Stadium for the first of two meetings at the venue this season. This was the third meeting of the season, however, as RBNY picked up 4-0 wins in both the U.S Open Cup and MLS at Red Bull Arena earlier in the season.
The match ended 1-0 in favor of the hosts as Maxi Moralez's 85th-minute goal was enough to give the blue side of New York all three points. It was Jonathan Lewis' hustle who made the goal possible as the substitute changed the way the game looked entirely. Darting onto the field when his name was called in the 76th minute, Lewis signaled to acting captain, Alex Ring, that the side would be switching to a 4-4-2 formation, which Domènec Torrent acknowledged after the match.
Following the match, Domè said "The last 20 minutes we were in trouble, I decided to play 4-4-2 with a fast player like Jonathan. I’m very proud of our players. It was not easy to play in this intensity and they played with soul. The most important thing, I say many times, you have to play with passion in derbies especially."
More general thoughts of the match following the final whistle included “Yeah it was an amazing game, maybe not the best quality, but we played against one of the best teams… they make high pressing all the time. They play quickly to the spaces, especially [Bradley] Wright-Phillips, because they finish in diagonal to the spaces…”
Both acknowledging how tough it is to beat their rivals, and crediting his team, Domè claimed “I’m very proud of them because they understand the best way, in my opinion, to play against this kind of teams, especially when we lost the last two games…I’m very happy, especially for them because…believe me, it’s not easy to play against them.”
Ben Sweat, whose first-ever NYCFC goal came against RBNY last season, put in another solid 90-minute outing against his club's biggest rivals. When asked about the win, Sweat said "You know, no matter who we play against, it’s always sweeter against the Red Bulls. We always have that in the back of our minds. But you know, we went out there and we executed our game plan. We were physical. We worked hard. And that’s how we have to be at home." The defender finished off those thoughts with "It’s good we came out on top. We definitely deserved it."
As previously mentioned, Jonathan Lewis was the difference maker, and when asked about the home crowd, he responded: “It pushes us, so when we have our home support packing the whole stadium it gives us the belief that we can win because they believe in us.” Lewis also acknowledged the intensity, saying: “Because of the stakes that were on the line. We lost twice them early in the season. Playing in front of a packed house, I’m pretty sure our fans would not be happy if we lost the third one to them.”
Maxi Moralez, who scored the game-winning goal, was happy to win, and mentioned keeping up with Atlanta United saying: “Yes, of course winning is always good, especially in a type of game like this because we know the importance of the rivalry and we know what it means to our fans and to our club. We were coming off two road loses against them so we had to get this game in a sense but to also keep pace with Atlanta.”
NYCFC remain at home as they're set to play two games at home in the six days following the Derby. Midweek, NYCFC will welcome the Montreal Impact, who will head into the match on a four-game win streak before welcoming the Columbus Crew at the weekend, who have cooled down after a hot start to the campaign. The Boys in Blue will be hoping Domènec Torrent can lead them to more success.