RBNY Need to Know: Hudson Derby Part III

Hanover, NJ (August 7th, 2015) – On Sunday the Red Bulls look to close out the season series with NYCFC in a commanding fashion. In the first two matches of the season, the Red Bulls dominated the expansion side for large stretches, and outscored City 5-2 across the first two legs. However, the City team that New York faced in late June is not the same side that will take the pitch in Harrison on Sunday.  As LWOS’ Martin Bihl pointed out, nearly half of NYC’s starting XI were not on the club a month ago.

New York Red Bulls midfielder Sacha Klejstan spoke about the changes in the opposition. “It’s a challenge because Lampard and Pirlo are big stars and who have played big clubs and won big trophies in their careers, so it’s always a test to go up against these guys to see how good you are yourself,” Klejstan told reporters this week.

RBNY Need to Know: Hudson Derby Part III

Head Coach Jesse Marsch talked about the moves as well, comparing them to the recent signings his own club has made. “(City) has felt that they want to make a big splash in the market, and they have with the signings, that’s for sure. But, we have our own philosophy.”

The recent moves that the Red Bulls have made represent a departure from years past.  Previously, it would have likely been New York linked to Pirlo and Lampard, but with the latest front office clearing, Sporting Director Ali Curtis and Marsch have been steadfast in their road map to utilizing the New York Red Bulls infrastructure to their highest possible potential.

The change in philosophy has paid dividends.  Instead of attempting to sign the biggest name possible, the club has taken a long view, recently signing two players that will only add to the goal of being a top team in MLS for years to come.  Shaun Wright-Phillips has seen some relief duty and has shown that he is a game changing player, regardless of the small sample size, and could earn a starting spot in Sunday’s match because of short rest.

The most notable signing was one of the worst kept secrets around the club. The club finally announced the signing of San Lorenzo forward Gonzalo Veron. The 25 year old Argentinian won the Copa Libatadores playing alongside Montreal wizard Ignacio Piatti in 2014, and he could see minutes against City on Sunday evening.  “It’s been good to have (Veron) here and training.  He was playing in (San Lorenzo’s) preseason and played a couple of matches before he got here,” Marsch stated.

Of course, the Red Bulls have picked up some knocks, with both Connor Lade and Kemar Lawrence not participating in yoga at training today. According to Marsch both should play on Sunday.

This brings us to the curious case of the Wright-Phillips brothers.  Both men grew up in the Manchester City academy system and, although the younger BWP (nicknamed Beep) has featured for other clubs, including New York, SWP (nicknamed Sweep, by City faithful) predominantly played for the club.  This could present an interesting bundle of emotions for the speedy winger, as he could start against an affiliate of the club he made his name playing for.  Of course, that was then and this is now.

Dax McCarty comes into this match continuing his strong play this season.  Over the last three games, the Red Bulls captain, and lone representitive in the league’s All Star Game, has contributed five assists.  McCarty was the subject of some questioning at training today after an on field altercation with his teammate Karl Ouimette.  McCarty seemed to channel former teammate and former Red Bulls captian Thierry Henry.  Henry was known for being prickly with his teammates when he felt the quality of their play was left wanting. Both Marsch and McCarty brushed off the incident as nothing to worry about, chalking it up to the whirlwind of emotions in the midweek match, noting the return of Felipe, Marsch, and Ouimette to Montreal.

The Red Bulls enter this match unbeaten in their last four league matches, and have only lost once in their last seven matches. With an emotional 3-1 win over Philadelphia last weekend, New York earned it’s 9th win of the season.  In comparison, the 2014 Red Bulls did not earn their 9th win until September 10th. With a win Sunday, the Red Bulls could continue to solidify their current place in the table.  Currently, New York sits 2nd in the Eastern Conference, and 6th in the league table.  DC is currently in the lead for the Supporter’s Shield, and plays Montreal on the road. However, the Red Bulls currently have 3 games in hand on United. Those games in hand represent a possible nine points, which could put Marsch’s club in the lead for the Shield.  The home stretch starts Sunday – the frenetic and frantic road to the playoffs, against a club below them in the standings.

Featured Photo: Bill Twomey/Bill Twomey Photography

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