Bradley Wright-Phillips (on the left): “I don’t really like them that much. They were put there for that reason. I think we were supposed to hate each other.” (FrontRowSoccer.com Photo)
By Michael Lewis
NEW YORK — While the actual match isn’t until Saturday at Red Bull Arena, I decided to play a game anyway with the Red Bulls and New York City FC Tuesday afternoon at Major League Soccer headquarters.
Call it the word association game, just for the Hudson River Derby.
I asked the Red Bulls participating in MLS Rivalry week media day the following question: When I say New York City FC, what comes to your mind.
And later I asked I asked the NYCFC players and coach a similar question: When I say Red Bulls, what comes to your mind.
The responses intriguing and ran the gamut to 7-0 game last year to pure hate to geographical location.
I asked the asked of nine of 10 people. Unfortunately, David Villa’s time with the media was cut short and I never had the opportunity to query him. C’est la vie.
Who said what? You’ll just to have read on.
In order of the questions, here were the responses:
Luis Robles, Red Bulls goalkeeper
That was such a cool experience when I look back at my soccer life as a professional. I think I’ll always be able to point back to that because not only did we go to their stadium and provide such an incredible result, but the way our fans responded to it, the way our fans almost continued to gravitate towards that. And for them and our organization, it really was a special moment. But that is in no way to try to moralize them or even marginalize them [NYCFC]. They’re a great organization. They continue to get better. And the way that they’re going, you’d expect that. They’re really going to be strong at the end of the season and we’ll be strong in the playoffs.
Chris Armas, Red Bulls assistant coach
Look, for me, it’s the Red Bulls’ biggest and closest rivals, a team that we respect greatly. We know a specific playing style and talented players and good coaching. The color blue comes to my mind. I think you could see the images, the way they play, the personnel quality that they have.
Sacha Kljestan, Red Bulls midfielder
Chance to beat your rival. This, to me, is not normal to come here once per season to talk about one game that is as equally important as 33 other games. We drum it up a lot. We want to talk about the drama, we want to talk about all that. Want to talk about 7-0. It doesn’t matter. It’s all the same to me. We’re going up for a game against a rival that means a lot to the fans. I want to win this one for our fans because as soon as this one comes out in the schedule, it means a lot to the fans. We got back from Philly the other night. We got off the bus and our supporters bus was getting there at the same time and as soon as they got off, the first thing they said was kick their asses on Saturday. And so I’ve known this for a long time, being a player. The local rivalries mean so much. the fans, I want to give this one to them, that’s for sure.
Bradley Wright-Phillips, Red Bulls striker
Honestly? Hate. I don’t really like them that much. They were put there for that reason. I think we were supposed to hate each other. From the first season they have been there I have not liked them. when we played them in the games, it weighs a little. I don’t know what you guys call it over here, but people are having little digs at each other and it’s a hostile atmosphere on the field.
Tyler Adams, Red Bulls midfielder
The amount of times that we have beat them and that’s what we want to continue to keep doing.
Jack Harrison, NYCFC midfielder-forward
I always want to get revenge on Red Bulls for my debut and everything. So that’s the first thing that I think of is the 7-0 debut I had against them last year.
Tommy McNamara, NYCFC midfielder-forward
I think of our fans. I think it brings to mind how well they have supported us over the years and took to us as a club. Not only does it mean a lot to us as players and the coaching staff, but it means a heck of a lot to the supporters and I want to be able to give that to them.
Patrick Vieira, NYCFC head coach
Yangel Herrera, NYCFC midfielder
It’s a derby. We’ve only beaten them once. It touches the moral a bit and we want to go in and win it. We don’t lose again anymore.