Ah, yes, it’s Rivalry Week this weekend in the MLS, and will anybody in New York actually notice? With both of the Big Apple MLS clubs fighting it out for local bragging rights, there’s so much more at stake than just three points for the standings table.
In many ways, both sides have more pressing issues to deal with, and a win on Saturday could mean a new lease on life for either team.
Can the New York Red Bulls put out their dumpster fire?
To say that the New York Red Bulls have been disappointing to this point in the MLS season is a gross understatement. With a meager 1-6-4 record and just eight points, the Red Bulls are staring at the bottom of the Eastern Conference pit and looking for any staircase to get them out of this cellar. In case you have been under a rock this week or don’t follow any MLS news, NYRB parted ways with former head coach Gerhard Struber and assistant coach Bernd Eibler.
Enter new head coach Tony Lesesne who had a great track record while coaching in the USL. The Red Bulls don’t necessarily have a problem on defense, but their offense is quite honestly offensive to their fans. With only eight goals in 11 matches and a 5.9% conversion rate, you can’t win matches if you don’t put the round ball inside of your opponent’s net now and then.
NYCFC – is great at home but terrible on the road.
NYCFC is like a Jekyll and Hyde type of team. When playing at Yankee Stadium or Citi Field, they have a stellar 4-0-1 record, but on the road, well, they are 0-3-3, which means they can’t take produce any results outside of their own friendly confines.
NYCFC seems to have found their offensive firepower in the form of Santiago Rodgriguez. The Uruguayan midfielder/striker/wherever forward already has four goals and 20 attacking assists so far this season and seems to be the key to the Pigeon’s offensive attack. If Santi gets hot, NYCFC is a solid team, and despite a 4-3-4 overall record, they could easily use this Rivalry Week match as a breakout to start moving up the MLS table. A loss, however, could be another setback for NYCFC and be the proverbial monkey wrench in their season as well.
Both squads have a lot riding on this match, and both equally need a jumpstart to their respective seasons.