By Michael Lewis Editor

When the Red Bulls and New York City FC walk onto the Red Bull Arena pitch Thursday night, it will mark the 17th time these two archrivals will meet in the Hudson River Derby the past six seasons.

The Red Bulls lead the series, 9-5-2, across all competitions and 7-5-2 in Major League Soccer matches.

With 16 previous confrontations — some memorable ones — it is time to update the ranking of the various Hudson River Derby matches.

So, here goes:

1. NYCFC 3, Red Bulls 2 (Aug. 6, 2017)

New York City FC added another chapter to the legend of David Villa that Sunday night.

Villa connected for his first Major League Soccer hat-trick, including the game-winning penalty kick in the 75th minute, to power City to a 3-2 victory over the Red Bulls in the latest edition of the Hudson River Derby at Yankee Stadium.

The triumph gave third-place NYCFC (12-7-4, 40 points) the season series, 2-0, with Game No. 3 at Red Bull Arena Aug. 25 and extended the hosts home unbeaten streak to eight games while snapping the fourth-place Red Bulls’ (11-9-2, 35) winning streak at four.

The 2010 World Cup winner was at his best with the game on the line, striking twice within a three-minute span in the second half to turn the game on its head With the Red Bulls enjoying a 2-1 lead, the 35-year-old Villa took over in front of a soccer capacity crowd of 33,679.

In the 72nd minute he beat goalkeeper Luis Robles at the near right post to equalize at 2-2. After Sal Zizzo fouled him in the box for a yellow card, Villa drilled a penalty into the lower left corner for the game-winner in the 75th minute (Zizzo was sent off for accruing his second yellow card in the 90th minute).

MLS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: NYCFC’s David Villa (2 goals) wins it

David Villa struck for a hat-trick in 2017. (Keith Furman/ photo)

2. Red Bulls 7, NYCFC 0 (May 21, 2016)

No one saw it coming. Not the Red Bulls and certainly not NYCFC. I mean, how many times do you see soccer games include seven goals, let alone one team scoring them all as the visitors? Again and again and again, the Red Bulls’ press forced NYCFC into mistakes and into goals before a crowd of 37,848 at Yankee Stadium. A Bradley Wright-Phillips goal in first-half stoppage essentially broke City’s back with a three-goal halftime bulge. Dax McCarty headed home two goals, BWP had another and Alex Muyl, Gonzalo Veron and Gideon Baah scored their first goals for the Red Bulls. In derby history in the world, the scoreline was one of the most confounding.

“It was a disaster for us. All bad. All bad,” Villa said. “The best thing about this is we only lost three points. This was our worst day. The only thing we can do is forget the day, forget the game.”

Jesse Marsch had another take. “Incredible performance,” he said. “A bunch of guys on the field who wanted to express how much they wanted it. And it’s been a tough start of the season for us, no doubt. But I felt like in all ways we wanted to go out and make this a performance that we can hang our hat on, that we can say, ‘Now we’re turning a corner. It’s a big game. And we’re going to do everything we can to put it on our terms.’ ”

THE WRIGHT-PHILLIPS STUFF: BWP named MLS player of the week

Bradley Wright-Phillips scored 14 goals vs. NYCFC in derby encounter. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)

3. NYCFC 2, Red Bulls 0 (July 3, 2016)

A little more than a month after the other debacle, City restored some of its dignity with a vital home shutout at Yankee Stadium before 33,613 spectators in its lone win to date. Jack Harrison and Villa tallied for the hosts, who salvaged one game in the series.

“I always say the same thing when we win or when we lose,” Villa said. “It’s three points more. This game is the same important as the next game in New York or the next game in Seattle. For the supporters, it’s a little bit different. We are happy to give this to the supporters. They deserved it a lot of games ago.”

TOP MLS HONORS: NYCFC’s Jack Harrison named player of the week

Jack Harrison found the net vs. the Red Bulls in 2017. (Trevor Ruszkowski/USA TODAY Sports)

4. Red Bulls 2, NYCFC 1 (July 14, 2019)

Add one intriguing and controversial chapter to the derby. In fact, it might have been the most controversial chapter in the five-year history of this budding rivalry.

Midfielder Daniel Royer headed in the game-winning goal for the Red Bulls on the hour in their 2-1 comeback victory at RBA. But New York City FC apparently was angry that assistant referee Corey Rockwell did not do a good enough job of communicating whether the dead-ball situation that led to the goal was a corner kick or a throw-in.

The ball went out of bounds on the right side of the Red Bulls’ attacking third. At first, Rockwell signaled via his flag that it was a corner kick before pointing it toward the other direction for a throw-in.

Alex Muyl’s throw-in went to Marc Rzatkowski, who passed to Cristian Casseres Jr. on the right side of the area. Casseres, in turn, fed Royer, who headed it home from eight yards past goalkeeper Sean Johnson.

It appeared that NYCFC did not apply pressure on the ball.

NYCFC players complained to referee Alan Kelly in vain and the goal stood as the Red Bulls improved their derby record to 5-1-1 at RBA. During FS1’s broadcast of the match, announcer JP Dellacamera said that Kelly had overruled Rockwell on the call, saying it was a throw-in.

There was no Video Assistant Referee used on the play.

Afterwards, a pool reporter asked Kelly why a corner kick wasn’t given.

“The referee overruled the AR because the referee was in a better position to judge that the ball went out for a throw-in,” Kelly responded.

“No ‘throw-in’ motion was made and would not normally be made.

“The referee indicated verbally that the restart was a throw-in. Corner kick vs. throw-in decisions are not reviewable by the VAR.”

After Kelly sounded the final whistle, several NYCFC players vented their frustrations at the game officials, including an incensed head coach Dome Torrent.

Torrent said NYCFC “had anticipated a corner, we are not ready because when they decided it’s corner, we are ready for the corner.”

“I’m so sorry for the soccer, because it’s not fair what happened in this game, I’m so sorry,” he added. “Sometimes I don’t like to talk about the refs, but impossible, don’t talk about the refs tonight, and everybody knows what happened. You have a doubt, you can go see the TV. It’s clear. But it’s indicated corner, two seconds — and what happened after that, maybe it’s our mistake, but it’s not easy once they corner and you are ready for the corner, not for the throw.

“This is a mistake. They know. He decided the game. I said to him, you decide the game and you know that. You decide the game. You are not brave. You decide the game.”

CORNER KICK OR THROW-IN?: Royer’s 2nd goal lifts Red Bulls over NYCFC on controversial call in Hudson River Derby

Daniel Royer celebrates his game-winning goal with Alex Muyl. (Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports)

5. Red Bulls 4, NYCFC 1 (July 24, 2016)

Like I said, a derby needs controversy. Well, on this day, there was a lot of controversy. Let’s see if we can put it in a nutshell without breaking the internet. Prior to the match, Marsch complained about how the Red Bulls were not getting calls from referee. City head coach Patrick Vieira was ejected from the match in the 34th minute because he had left the coaching box. Vieira claimed that Marsch’s comments set up referee Mark Geiger to call the third and final match of the derby in the hosts’ favor. He and ripped into his RBNY counterpart after the match. And oh yes, before we forget, BWP scored twice — again, and Ronald Zubar and Sacha Kljestan added one apiece. Tommy McNamara connected for NYCFC before 25,218 spectators at RBA.

OFFSIDE REMARKS: Patrick Vieira: an appreciation

Patrick Vieira received his marching orders in a 2016 derby confrontation.  (Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports)

6. Red Bulls 1, NYCFC 1 (Aug. 22, 2018)

Despite playing with a two-man disadvantage, New York City FC managed to register a 1-1 draw in the fourth and final derby encounter of the regular season. City had two players sent off — one in each half — as the host team played the final 18 minutes of the match down two players at Yankee Stadium.

Each team finished with a 1-1-1 mark in the regular-season derby, although the Red Bulls also had earned a victory in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in June.

It was one of the most, if not the most physical game of the four-year series between the two rivals.

Referee Ted Unkel was like a human traffic light, awarding two red cards — both two NYCFC players — Eloi Amagat and Ebenezer Ofori — and six yellows. The Red Bulls were slapped with four yellow cards in a match that required seven minutes of second-half stoppage time.

Bradley Wright-Phillips scored for the Red Bulls in the 37th minute before David Villa equalized for NYCFC, playing with only 10 men, in the 52nd minute.

IN HIS OWN WORDS: David Villa explains why he is leaving NYCFC

David Villa scored with NYCFC having a man disadvantage in 2018. (Photo courtesy of NYCFC)

7. NYCFC 1, Red Bulls 0 (July 8, 2018)

In only his third game as New York City FC head coach, Domenec Torrent accomplished something the departed Patrick Vieira couldn’t do in two derby matches in 2018:

He beat the Red Bulls.

Now it must be noted that City’s 1-0 win over the Red Bulls wasn’t the prettiest of games, but until MLS hands out points for aesthetically pleasing performances, the result, before a season-high 30,027 fans at Yankee Stadium, will suffice. That might go double since the Red Bulls handled NYCFC a pair of 4-0 thrashings earlier this season — in the league May 5 and in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup June 6.

“Playing in front of a packed house, I’m pretty sure our fans would not be happy if we lost the third one to them,” said Jonathan Lewis, whose cross set up Maxi Moralez’s 85th-minute goal.

“It was an amazing game, maybe not the best quality, but we played against one of the best team,” Torrent said.

It certainly didn’t hurt that NYCFC shut down its No. 1 nemesis Bradley Wright-Phillips, who never came close to making goalkeeper Sean Johnson sweat. Wright-Phillips entered the match with 11 goals in 14 appearances against City.

TORRENT TALKS: NYCFC coach on his team’s playoff elimination

Dome Torrent defeated the Red Bulls at RBA in 2018. (Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

8. Red Bulls 1, NYCFC 0 (June 14, 2017)

In the only there’s no tomorrow match of this rivalry, the Red Bulls got past City in the Lamar Hunt/U.S. Open Cup fourth-round encounter at Red Bull Arena. NYCFC dominated the first half, but a calf injury to playmaking midfielder Maxi Moralez turned the tide for the hosts in the second half. Daniel Royer struck for the lone goal of the match in the 77th minute.

The Red Bulls moved on to play and host the Philadelphia Union at RBA the next Wednesday. An interesting tidbit: this was the lone Red Bulls derby match in which Luis Robles did not guard the net. Ryan Meara, a member of City’s 2015, side, registered the clean sheet.

And this had the smallest derby crowd to date at 11,311. The Red Bulls, afraid of NYCFC fans filling up the stadium and taking away their home-field advantage, decided to price tickets at $65.

GOAL OF THE WEEK: Red Bulls’ Daniel Royer wins it

Daniel Royer scored the lone goal in the 2017 Open Cup match. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Photo)

9. NYCFC 2, Red Bulls 0 (June 24, 2017)

New York City FC came into the Red Bulls house Saturday and did what their Hudson River Derby rivals have done to them the past two years.

City dominated the MLS side at RBA.

Jack Harrison and Ben Sweat scored goals on either side of halftime as NYCFC recorded an emphatic 2-0 victory in the latest edition of the rivalry.

RBA has been nothing but a house of horrors for NYCFC, which had entered the game losing all four previous matches between the two teams here by a combined 9-2 score. That included a 1-0 elimination defeat in the Lamar Hunt/U.S. Open Cup June 14.

The Red Bulls might still lead the nascent series, 6-2, but third-place City (9-5-3, 30 points) moved seven points clear of the fifth-place Red Bulls (7-8-2, 23), who have experienced an up-and-down season.

Vieira produced a near-perfect game plan in denying Red Bulls striker Bradley Wright-Phillips the ball as the spine of his team — center backs Maxime Chanot and Alex Callens, central midfielders Alex Ring and Yangel Herrera and striker David Villa dominated the match.

Goalkeeper Sean Johnson, who was not severely tested, recorded the clean sheet.

RETURNING HOME: Sean Johnson on playing in Atlanta: ‘I have nothing to prove’

Sean Johnson backstopped a shutout in 2017. (Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports)

10. Red Bulls 2, NYCFC 1 (May 10, 2015)

There’s a first time for everything and this was the very first derby confrontation. A curious crowd of 25,217 turned out at RBA to watch the Red Bulls register the win. Despite playing the final 56 minutes a man down after Matt Miazga accrued his second yellow card of the match, the Red Bulls still prevailed. Wright-Phillips started his scoring prowess against City with a brace — one goal in each half — offsetting Patrick Mullins’ score.

“It was a great feeling to score in a derby,” Wright-Phillips said. “It always is.”

JUST CHILL OUT: BWP’s advice to the nay-sayers

BWP scored in each half in 2015 for the Red Bulls. (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)

11. Red Bulls 4, NYCFC 0 (May 5, 2018)

From the opening kickoff to the final whistle, the Red Bulls showed New York City FC who was boss at RBA, rolling to an emphatic triumph in front of 25,219 spectators.

Kaku, was the man of the match, masterminding three first-half goals in the first half. He scored the first and set up subsequent scores by Florian Valot and Bradley Wright-Phillips. Derrick Etienne, Jr. added a second half goal as goalkeeper Luis Robles, who had a rather uneventful game, was credited with the shutout.

NYCFC (6-2-2, 20 points) hardly looked like the team that entered the match as the Eastern Conference leaders, especially after the opening minutes. The Red Bulls pestered the visiting side with their high-pressure tactics and never really allowed City to find its rhythm.

INTERNATIONAL DUTY: 6 Red Bulls are called up – Kaku, Lawrence, Long, Fernandez, Duncan, Casseres

Kaku produced some magic for the Red Bulls in 2018. (Keith Furman/ Photo)

12. Red Bulls 4, NYCFC 0 (June 6, 2018)

It seems no matter who the Red Bulls put in their lineup against New York City FC, the result seems to be just about the same: a win. The Red Bulls continued their domination in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup behind a 4-0 fourth-round victory over their rivals before 9,496 at RBA.

Vincent Bezecourt scored in the first half and Aaron Long in the second half to start the rout. Daniel Royer added a late brace for the Red Bulls, who eliminated City from the competition for the second consecutive year. In fact, NYCFC has never won an Open Cup game in four tries. The team was ousted by the Cosmos in 2015 and 2016.

For NYCFC, the game was notable due to the professional debut of 15-year-old Joe Scally of Lake Grove, N.Y., who replaced David Villa in the 57th minute.

SEVEN-FIGURE TRANSFER: NYCFC sells Scally to Borussia Monchengladbach; will start in 2021

Joe Scally made his pro debut in a Hudson River Derby match in 2018. (Photo courtesy of NYCFC)

13. Red Bulls 3, NYCFC 1 (June 28, 2015)

A derby-record crowd of 48,047 packed Yankee Stadium to watch the Red Bulls continue their dominance. Wright-Phillips (two goals) and Chris Duvall connected on goals seven minutes into the second half after McNamara gave the hosts the lead. Miazga gave the Red Bulls some breathing room with a second-half score.

“We’re definitely excited about the three points, but to come against your rivals, especially with all the build-up that they’re trying to put into it, we understand that,” Robles said. “It’s marketing. It’s going to be good for the league. We’re on board with that. But we want to make a statement that we were here first, and this is our turf and we’ll continue to defend it.”

BWP WITH LAFC: Report: Former Red Bulls scoring star to train with Supporters Shield winners

Bradley Wright-Phillips had a brace vs. NYCFC in 2015. (Photo courtesy of MLS)

14. Red Bulls 2, NYCFC 0 (Aug. 9, 2015)

I’ll let my lede for Newsday in its Aug. 10, 2015 edition tell the story:

Curses, foiled again.

New York City FC coach Jason Kreis’ frustration was never more apparent on national TV and on the replay screens at Red Bull Arena as he cursed to no one in particular after the Red Bulls scored the first goal of what turned into a 2-0 defeat Sunday night.

It was the third time in as many matches that NYC FC fell to its Hudson River rivals in as the teams concluded their first regular-season derby.

OK, back to the present. BWP found the net again, as did Felipe before 25,219, the largest derby crowd at RBA.

Oh yeah, back to Kreis, who was seen cursing when Wright-Phillips scored the first goal from point-blank range off a marvelous Kemar Lawrence feed in the 21st minute in which defender Jefferson Mena slipped trying for the ball.

“Their player fouled us, but [the referee] gave them the ball,” Kreis said. “It was a ridiculous call. It led directly to their goal. From my point of view, he was very poor tonight.”

FANTASTIC TIMING: Kljestan, Felipe break open close game with 1st goals of the season

Felipe had many reasons for celebrate his 2015 goal.  (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)

15. Red Bulls 1, NYCFC 1 (Aug. 25, 2017)

Things usually have a way of evening themselves out at the end of the day.

On that Friday night, that wasn’t the case for New York City FC and the Red Bulls in their 1-1 draw in the Hudson River Derby at Red Bull Arena.

There was little question the Red Bulls were the superior team. They outshot City 21-9. They held the ball for 61.9 percent of the time, although it seemed much, much more. They also hit the woodwork twice on either side of halftime.

Second-place NYCFC (14-7-5 47 points) knew it escaped with a precious road point, even if the visitors failed to keep pace with Eastern Conference leaders Toronto FC (15-3-8, 53).

“I will take the points. I’m really happy with the points,” Vieira said. “We played against a really good team that made it difficult for us.”

Despite their domination, the fourth-place Red Bulls (12-10-3, 39) walked out of RBA a frustrated side, knowing they deserved better in what turned into the first tie in the 10-game rivalry that has spanned three seasons.

“A draw feels like a big disappointment because of the way we played and the way we dominated most of the match,” Marsch said.

Gonzalo Veron scored for the Red Bulls, Maxi Moralez for NYCFC.

HE’LL BE BACK FOR MORE: Moralez signs new 2-year DP deal with MLS, NYCFC

Maxi Moralez helped NYCFC to a draw in 2019. (Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

16. NYCFC 2, Red Bulls 1 (Aug. 24, 2019)

A slow start and a better finish turned out to be the recipe for New York City FC as it recorded a 2-1 victory over the Red Bulls.

After spotting the Red Bulls an early 1-0 lead, City came back behind goals by Maxi Moralez and Heber scored before a crowd of 28,895. Only a stellar performance by Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles stopped NYCFC from turning the game into a rout.

Alex Muyl tallied for the visitors.

A WILD AND CRAZY ONE: NYCFC secure a 5-3 CCL win at San Carlos behind Heber’s hat-trick

Heber found the net for NYCFC in 2019. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)


  New York Red Bulls Win   New York City FC Win   Draw

No. Date Competition Venue Home Team Score Away Team Goalscorers Attendance
1. May 10, 2015 [27] MLS Red Bull Arena New York Red Bulls 2–1 New York City FC (H) Wright-Phillips (2)
(A) Mullins
2. June 28, 2015 [28] MLS Yankee Stadium New York City FC 1–3 New York Red Bulls (H) McNamara
(A) Wright-PhillipsDuvallMiazga
3. August 9, 2015 [29] MLS Red Bull Arena New York Red Bulls 2–0 New York City FC (H) Wright-PhillipsFelipe
4. May 21, 2016 [30] MLS Yankee Stadium New York City FC 0–7 New York Red Bulls (H)
(A) McCarty (2), Wright-Phillips (2), MuylVerónBaah
5. July 3, 2016 [31] MLS Yankee Stadium New York City FC 2–0 New York Red Bulls (H) HarrisonVilla
6. July 24, 2016 [32] MLS Red Bull Arena New York Red Bulls 4–1 New York City FC (H) Wright-Phillips (2), ZubarKljestan
(A) McNamara
7. June 14, 2017 [33] Open Cup Red Bull Arena New York Red Bulls 1–0 New York City FC (H) Royer
8. June 24, 2017 [34] MLS Red Bull Arena New York Red Bulls 0–2 New York City FC (H)
(A) Harrison Sweat
9. August 6, 2017 [35] MLS Yankee Stadium New York City FC 3–2 New York Red Bulls (H) Villa (3)
(A) Wright-Phillips (2)
10. August 25, 2017 [36] MLS Red Bull Arena New York Red Bulls 1–1 New York City FC (H) Verón
(A) Moralez
11. May 5, 2018 [37] MLS Red Bull Arena New York Red Bulls 4–0 New York City FC (H) KakuValotWright-PhillipsEtienne
12. June 6, 2018 [38] Open Cup Red Bull Arena New York Red Bulls 4–0 New York City FC (H) BezecourtLongRoyer (2)
13. July 8, 2018 [39] MLS Yankee Stadium New York City FC 1–0 New York Red Bulls (H) Moralez
14. August 22, 2018 [40] MLS Yankee Stadium New York City FC 1–1 New York Red Bulls (H) Villa
(A) Wright-Phillips
15. July 14, 2019 [41] MLS Red Bull Arena New York Red Bulls 2–1 New York City FC (H) Royer (2)
(A) Héber
16. August 24, 2019 [42] MLS Yankee Stadium New York City FC 2–1 New York Red Bulls (H) MoralezHéber
(A) Muyl
17. August 20, 2020 MLS Red Bull Arena New York Red Bulls New York City FC









Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at