Red Bull Arena could be packed to its gills on Sunday night. ( Photo)

By Michael Lewis Editor

One thing is certain in Sunday’s Hudson River Derby – a big crowd is expected at Red Bull Arena for the Red Bulls-New York City FC confrontation.

In fact, the game could very well be a sellout, which be a rare occurrence the past few years.

While the Red Bulls will enjoy a home-field advantage with their supporters, City also welcomes what is expected to be a huge turnout.

“This would be perfect, and this would be a big help for my boys, when we have in the end a top atmosphere,” Red Bulls head coach Gerard Struber said. “I love our stadium. I love when we have many, many fans in the stadium. I think they can create the top atmosphere for my players, for my boys.”

Red Bulls midfielder Omir Fernandez felt that a big crowd could push his team over the top.

“It means a lot,” he said. “Over the past few years that I’ve been here, we’ve struggled a little bit in the season. We haven’t even been top four in past seasons. This year for us to be doing really well I can see that the crowd is kind of increasing as the season comes by. We know this is going to be a big one, and I think for us to have the fans on our side in such a rivalry game, it means a lot because when we go to their stadium and we hear their fans, it kind of affects us. For us to have them here and have the Red Bull fans making noise and bothering them the whole game is going to give us that advantage as well. When we win, we get to celebrate with our fans.”

Well, NYCFC just might have something to say about that.

“Every time I’ve been to Red Bull Arena, we’ve had that group that they put right up in the sky that is really loud,” City interim head coach Nick Cushing said. “They’ve traveled to Red Bull Arena, and they’re loud in Yankee Stadium. In whatever stadium we play we have that group of fans, and we really rely on them, especially in the difficult moments, to push us over the line.

“For us, we want to put a performance in for them because we’ve been to Red Bull Arena and had some disappointing results in the past and for us to really put a performance in and to give everything for New York City Football Club and for them, I think is a real motivator this time around.”