By Ralph Chery
A new chapter of the Hudson River Derby between the New York Red Bulls and New York City FC will unfold this Saturday as the teams clash at Red Bull Arena at 1:30 p.m.
NYRB have been getting the best out of The Boys in Blue in the derby, defeating them six times in their seven meetings. Last time the two sides met was in the Open Cup last week. The Red Bulls conquered City yet again, edging them 1-0.
David Villa expressed how important it is for NYCFC to relent their rivals’ dominance in the derby with a win this Saturday.
“It’s important for us and our fans to give a victory on Saturday because in the past we have a lot of losses against Red Bulls,” Villa said.
“We enjoy all the difficult games, to play against the good teams and the big challenges. This is the big challenge because in the past Red Bulls did better than us and we need to change this.”
The Spaniard recently netted his 50th goal for NYCFC against Seattle Sounders last Saturday. He’s the second topscorer in the league with 10 goals. However Villa only netted once in the New York Derby.
The Bronx team currently sits in third place in the Eastern Conference with 27 points—four points above NYRB. In their last game, they rallied back from a 1-0 deficit against the reigning champions Seattle at halftime to defeat them 2-1.
Villa noted that the team is stronger this season.
“I think we have more quality, more talented players. I said this and I believe in my words. I think it’s true, but we need to put it on the pitch,” he said. “It’s not only about saying it in the press conference.
“I think we’ve played well, until now, and I think we have a lot of power in the future because with the passing of the days and the games I think we improve and we are better and better to get ready we hope for the playoffs. We need to show it on the pitch.”
The Red Bulls on the other hand are playing a substandard season as they sit in fifth place in the Eastern Conference. Assistant coach Chris Armas admits that his side is underperforming but is hopeful of a better future.
“I’m not going to sit here and say that we’re playing great. We’re not,” Armas said. “We know exactly what we are and where we stand. We know we have to be sharper and better at what we do, [but] we’re three years into this. We’re not sneaking up on anybody, so teams know what we’re going to do.
“In some ways, they have been effective, but I think within our team there is still a lot of belief at what we do.”
Bradley Wright Phillips leads The Metros in scoring, tallying eight goals in 16 games. Wright Philips is also the topscorer of the New York derby with eight goals.
“I think he’s one of the best strikers, not only in the league at the moment, but in the history,” Villa said about the Red Bull striker. “His numbers are big for him. He always scores minimum 15 goals in all the years he’s here. One year he scored , last year 24. He’s one of the best strikers in the league right now and in the history of MLS.”
Wright Philips beat Villa to the MLS Golden Boot last season by one goal, scoring 24 times. This built up a rivalry between the two strikers in the media. However BWP doesn’t think he’s worthy of being compared to the veteran forward.
“He’s David Villa. All the credit he gets he deserves,” the Englishman said. “He’s a world-class striker. He’s won a World Cup, Champions League. Let me say this now, I don’t want to be mentioned in the same breath as him. He’s a different beast.”
Goalkeeper Luis Robles is also a player to keep an eye on in the derby. Robles is the third best shotstopper in the league with 54 saves.
The derby has never ended in a draw.