I switched my TV on this afternoon to view one of the newest derbies in world football. New York City FC have only been around for just over three years, and are currently competing in their second MLS campaign. A 7-0 drubbing last time out to their noisy neighbours was dubbed an embarrassment by many supporters, who prior to today had not witnessed the feeling of Derby day delight.
As I’m sure you can tell from that final sentence, this would be a completely different story. The leagues current top marksman David Villa represented a continuous problem for the Red Bulls, and even at 34, should not be taken lightly.
New York City eventually ran away 2-0 victors, but despite the gold mine of elite games gracing the field, there was little quality to show for it. Perhaps it’s a coincidence that an Englishmen opened the scoring. Jack Harrison, former of Manchester United’s academy, volleyed in after being given far too much room from a Pirlo corner.
The Standard of defending was purely shocking, a benchmark that many Sunday League players would like to say they could fulfil. It was the same story with just over an hour played. Harrison raced down the right and was left two on one with Villa in support. A pinpoint cross left the Spaniard the simplest of finishes, as NYCFC’s first Hudson River Derby triumph was confirmed.
A midfield guarded by two former stars of the international scene kept the Red Bulls possession to a minimum. Andrea Pirlo pulled the strings, with seamlessly little effort. Frank Lampard connected the dangerous Villa to his midfield compatriot, as it all played out perfect for Patrick Vieira’s side.
But still there is something missing from the biggest rivalry in American soccer. Watching on as an Englishmen, the lack of atmosphere in the Yankee’s Stadium was very apparent. Nearly 40,000 eager spectators were packed into the stadium, yet all they could muster was the infrequent cry of ‘David Villa’. Maybe sitting on my sofa is not the perfect viewing point, but surely I could at least expect the winning side to be singing their hearts out as the English game is so often known for.
There was even extra edge on the occasion, with NYCFC knowing a win would take them to the summit of Eastern conference, but still the crowds stayed silent. Maybe this will change with time, and as more history is crammed into what I hope is a long standing rivalry, supporters will become more attached to their side of the city.