Jason Getz (USA TODAY Sports)
By Michael Lewis
BRONX — After New York City FC polished off FC Dallas Sunday night, forward Jo Inge Berget fired the opening salvo of this year’s edition of the Hudson River Derby.
Berget questioned whether the Red Bulls were truly a New York team.
In the first of three MLS regular-season encounters this year, City and the Red Bulls meet at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. Saturday at 2 p.m.
“Of course, I played some derbies over the years and it’s always fun,” he said. This is going to be a new one for me. Of course, it’s a derby of New York. I don’t know if they’re really a New York team but they want to be one, so I think it’s going to be a fun game. Obviously, we want to have a win there.”
The Red Bulls have been around for 23 years. They started off as the New York/New Jersey MetroStars before new ownership renamed the team, the New York Red Bulls in 2006, though they play in New Jersey.
NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira, who will direct the team in the derby for the third season, was more diplomatic in his first comments about the confrontation.
Asked about how he felt entering the next match, the former French international replied, “Feeling good. feeling good because it was a tough test for us. Every game is a test and I think we responded well today. We didn’t play our best game, but I believe we showed some really good spirit. We worked hard, we fought when we needed and that’s what you need to win football matches. It’s not going to be pretty every weekend. but it is always good to win the game before the derby.”
NYCFC and the Red Bulls will play each other two other times during the regular season — at Yankee Stadium July 8 and at the stadium again Aug. 22.