On a beautiful day in the Bronx, they played some ugly soccer at Yankee Stadium.

New York City FC midfielder Andres Perea (15) and Red Bulls defender Hassan Ndam (98) fight for the ball. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

By Michael Lewis
FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

On a beautiful day in the Bronx, they played some ugly soccer at Yankee Stadium.

In what could be the death knell for both teams’ playoff chances this season, New York City FC and the Red Bulls played to a rather listless, dreadful, scoreless deadlock in a vital match on Saturday afternoon.

The game pit two of the most inept attacking sides in MLS in one of the most disappointing results in the 27th edition of the Hudson River Derby.

Both teams needed a win and three points to climb up the table in the quest for the ninth and final postseason spot in the Eastern Conference.

One point was better than none, but it stymied both teams’ hopes of playing important matches in October.

Entering Saturday night’s matches, the result had NYCFC (6-10-13, 31 points) in 13th place, a point ahead of 14th-place Red Bulls (7-12-9, 30).

Ironically, the Red Bulls took home a trophy that actually meant very little. They were awarded the first Hudson River Derby trophy for winning the regular-season series, 1-0-1.

The less said, the better about the opening 45 minutes as it had only a handful of goal-scoring opportunities.

And most of them were by the visitors in one of the most boring displays of the season by either side, and that was saying a lot.

Give the Red Bulls’ press a lot of credit. It made City work to just to get over the midfield line and helped the opposition to take the only chances of the half.

They were all attempted by forward Elias Manoel. He forced goalkeeper Matt Freeze to make a body save in the fourth minute. The Brazilian then sent a shot wide two minutes later and sent another shot over the crossbar in the 45th minute.

The only other Red Bulls’ shot on target was John Tolkins’ 24-yard free kick, which went straight to Freeze.


Red Bulls goalkeeper Carlos Coronel’s biggest moment was when he came out of the penalty area to kick the ball out of harm’s way midway through the half.

The Cityzens suffered a big setback in the half as midfielder Keaton Parks incurred an apparent ankle injury when he landed after heading the ball in the 34th minute. Alfredo Morales replaced him three minutes later.

The host side discovered its attacking shoes in the second half and forced the action, but all of City’s attempts sailed wide of the mark.

As it turned out, NYCFC killer Omir Fernandez tested Freeze in the 75th minute as he powered a right-wing feed from second-half sub Kyle Duncan toward the net. The City netminder, however, parried the ball over the line for a corner kick.

Eight minutes later, another Fernandez, NYCFC’s second half sub, Julian Fernandez tried his luck from the right side, but Coronel had little problem corralling his attempt.

City’s Mounsef Bakrar had a chance in the 88th minute, but his close-range shot was deflected by a teammate and sailed out of bounds.

The hosts pushed for the game-winner as Thiago Martins headed a bullet off a Santiago Rodriguez corner kick three minutes into injury time, but Coronel was in the right place at the right time to catch his try.

Finally, in the seventh minute of stoppage time, referee whistled twice to mercifully end this ghastly affair.

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 Guardian.com. Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of BigAppleSoccer.com. 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 Amazon.com.