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NYCFC vs Red Bulls – Preview of the Derby and 4 Questions

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Sep 17, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Red Bulls defender Sean Nealis (15) battles New York City FC defender Maxime Chanot (4) for a high ball during the second half at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

It’s 2023 Derby time for the New York City Football Club as the Gents From the Bronx bridge & tunnel to New Jersey to take on the New York Red Bulls. Derbys always up the ante for the fans as the two squads battle for bragging rights as well as position in the standings. To that end, it’s going to be an interesting matchup, as RBNY sits at an East worst 9 points in 11 games so far this season, however NYCFC has struggled of late against teams towards the bottom and are still seeking that first road win of the year. As always, I have questions going into this one. Let’s roll.

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1) Can NYCFC Get That First Road Win? This, even more than the Derby is on the fans of the Gents in Blue. Currently sitting at just 2 points in 6 road games it’s become an increasing concern. I feel too early to say panic, so let’s stick with concern for now. However the struggle largely has been on the offensive side of the ball, with the team scoring just two goals in it’s first 5 road games. They scored 2 last week against Charlotte but gave up three. For RBNY, 6 of their 9 points this season have come at home and Red Bull Arena as a road team has never been a great venue for NYC, going a brutal 1-10-3 when playing on the road there. The club could get a boost on several levels coming out of there with 3 points any which way they can.

2) Can NYCFC Defeat a Team Out Of A Playoff Spot? This is the other concern as these are the teams playoff teams are supposed to defeat. However the squad’s two game losing streak has come at the hands of both Toronto and Charlotte, currently sitting at 13th and 12th respectively. Toronto could be forgiven to a minor degree when you’re facing your captain and goalkeeper for years in Sean Johnson for the first time, who would have a clearing first hand insight into his opponent however Charlotte who has the worst goals against average in the league was tougher to digest. Should the team lose a Derby match against a team with the 3rd worst record in the entire league (and second worst in goals scored) there will be an increased push for Nick to be out the door which would suck, because I like the guy. Even a tie I think in this scenario wouldn’t be enough to placate the fan base.

3) How Much Will the US Open Affect Both Teams? NYCFC was quickly ousted from the US Open on Wednesday, falling 1-0 in Cincinnati in an otherwise solid performance from a starting XI which included 2 players with zero MLS minutes this year (Tony Alfaro & Matt Freese). I’ll address this match when we get closer to the Cincinnati MLS match at the end of the month, but this was a clear balancing act by head coach Nick Cushing to juggle the tight schedule. In addition, RBNY played Tuesday giving them an extra day’s rest which could possibly be a factor as the game wears on.

4) Can Santiago Rodriguez and Gabriel Pereira Continue To Produce? This is a source of optimism for the club, as Rodriguez has 3 goal on 8 shots in his last 3 MLS matches while Pereira 2 goals, 1 assist & 8 shots in his last four. It’s all about adjustment and finding the right combination. And in both the club’s 3-1 win on April 22 and 3-2 loss last week against Charlotte Rodriguez was front and center, either as a Striker or forward middle of a 4-3-3 while Pereira in both cases was on the right wing. 4 goals and an assist between them in those two matches is tough to ignore.

I think this team will turn it around. We’re only a third of the way through the year and it’s been an adjustment for this team with the new lineup. First step though is to take down the Red Bulls on their home turf and shake off the negative feelings that have been building for weeks now.

About the author – Scott Churchson has been an actor in every way for the past 13 years, from BG to stand in to stunts and principal, a sports writer for the past 4 and is one of the people that created Stream Punk Entertainment. He’s married to a veterinarian, has a cat with three working legs, a mother-in-law who just moved in and is just a simple man trying to make his way in the universe.

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