Goals from Jack Harrison and David Villa ensured New York City earned their first win over rivals New York Red Bulls in a 2-0 victory at Yankees Stadium.
Winger Harrison got his team off the perfect start after firing home with his weaker foot after Andrea Pirlo’s cleverly disguised corner found him in acres of space on the edge of the penalty area. The goal was a deserved reward for the positivity that Patrick Vieira’s men had shown in the early stages as they looked to play on the front foot.
Clearly still bitter about their 7-0 humiliation the last time these two sides squared off, City continued to put the pressure on the short travelling visiting side and eventually found a second after the hour mark as Harrison turned provider for captain David Villa to tap in for a two-goal cushion.
The game always looked in jeopardy of emotions flowing overboard and Chris Duvall obliged to the almost inevitable given the Red Bulls’ frustration as the defender was shown a straight red card for a late, high challenge on Pirlo with twelve minutes remaining.
For Frank Lampard – who was booed by his own team’s supporters during the infamous 7-0 loss just weeks ago – this was a much more pleasant experience as he was cheered off when replaced by Miguel Lopez in the second half. The 38-year-old has had a rough time since crossing the Atlantic after the debacle involving his loan move to parent club Manchester City. However, now he appears to be back on track, playing a key pass to Harrison in NYC’s second goal.
After the match, coach Patrick Vieira was in a buoyant mood and admitted his pride at the way his team responded to the previous meeting between the two teams.
“There was big expectation and pressure on their shoulders. And the way they responded today, they really made me proud,” he said.
“That’s why this is a special group of players that I’m really pleased to be working with.
“Today, they gave their answer to [the media] and to everybody that we are strong, we are determined, and there’s a really good spirit in this football club.”
The result moves NYC up to 1st place in the Eastern Conference – although Montreal Impact have two games in hand on them – while Red Bulls remain fourth and ultimately miss out on the opportunity to claim the top spot. Even though, they suffered the worst number of losses in the East this season with nine. Only 9th-place Western Conference team Seattle Sounders can equal Jesse Marsch’s team for the number of defeats so far, and they will have to find a way to stop losing so often if they are to be a force come play-off time in the post-season.