(Maxi Moralez celebrating his goal – USA Today Sports)
New York City Football Club, thanks to a late goal from Maxi Moralez, beat the Red Bulls, 1-0, on Sunday night at Yankee Stadium in the third Hudson River Derby match of the season.
The decisive goal of the night came in the 85th minute on a play that began with NYCFC’s Jonathan Lewis gaining possession just outside the box, and he came down the right side.
Lewis fired it across to Moralez coming down the center of the pitch, and Moralez fired a low shot that got by Red Bulls Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles and defender Tim Parker to break the scoreless draw.
It was Moralez’s seventh goal of the season, and he said of the win, “Yes, of course winning is always good, especially in a type of game like this because we know the importance of the rivalry and we know what it means to our fans and to our club. We were coming off two road loses against them so we had to get this game in a sense but to also keep pace with Atlanta.”
NYCFC avenged two losses on the road to the Red Bulls earlier in the season, one an MLS match and the other in the US Open Cup.
With the win, NYCFC passes the Red Bulls to move back into second place in the Eastern Conference. NYCFC is now 10-4-4, with 34 points, while the Red Bulls are 10-2-5, with 32 points. Atlanta leads the East with a record of 12-4-4, with 40 points.
This was a defensive battle from the start, and shots on net were hard to come by in the first half. NYCFC’s best scoring chance came on a Jesus Medina shot that deflected off a Red Bulls defender and just missed the corner of the net in the 25th minute. Kaku provided the Red Bulls’ best shot on a rocket from the top of the box in the 41st minute.
In the second half, the Red Bulls had a great chance in the 51st minute when Sean Davis came down the right side and sent it across to Daniel Royer on the left side, and his shot was just off the mark.
In the 65th minute, the Red Bulls were pressuring the net and Kemar Lawrence came down the left side, went to the touch line before firing a shot that NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson corralled as he was at the post.
In the 77th minute, off a sideline throw-in for NYCFC, the ball bounced around and went to Medina in the box, and he got off a quality shot, which Robles handled with ease.
Sunday night’s match was the first Hudson River Derby for NYCFC Head Coach Domenec Torrent and his counterpart, Chris Armas.
This was Torrent’s third game in charge of NYCFC since taking over for Patrick Vieira, and he has won two of them.
Torrent said of his first Derby match, “Yeah it was an amazing game, maybe not the best quality, but we played against one of the best teams… they make high pressing all the time. They play quickly to the spaces, especially (Bradley) Wright-Phillips, because they finish in diagonal to the spaces…
“The last 20 minutes we were in trouble, I decided to play 4-4-2 with a fast player like Jonathan. I’m very proud of our players. It was not easy to play in this intensity and they played with soul. The most important thing, I say many times, you have to play with passion in derbies especially.”
On beating the Red Bulls, Torrent said, “I’m very proud of them because they understand the best way, in my opinion, to play against this kind of teams, especially when we lost the last two games…I’m very happy, especially for them because…believe me, it’s not easy to play against them.”
On going forward establishing his style, Torrent said, “We have to improve because I like to pass the ball and keep the ball. It is not easy to come here after another coach… but the most important thing for me tonight was break the situation against the Red Bulls.”
This was Armas’ first game as head coach of the Red Bulls after being promoted to the job on on Friday after the departure of Jesse Marsch.
Armas said of the match, “Well it’s obviously disappointing to not come away with points here. Obviously, it was close in the end, close to getting a draw, and maybe even with the push we made in the second half, maybe three, but to leave here after a big match, a derby match, is disappointing.”
On what his first game in charge was like, Armas said, “I was very comfortable today. I was comfortable in the role, and I think the comfort comes from the group of guys that I’m coaching. Not just that I know them, but that there’s a respect there. I’ve known these guys and it’s just a certain comfort level that felt ok. Knowing that we’re a good team gives a coach comfort. You step out on the field and think you can beat anyone on any given day, so in the role of head coach on the day, it’s a bit different, but I’ve been in this building before and I’ve made decisions before so I largely felt comfortable.”
FLORIAN VALOT: Red Bulls midfielder Florian Valot suffered an ACL tear in his left knee during training on Thursday at the Red Bulls Training Facility in East Hanover, N.J., the club announced today. Valot will undergo surgery in the coming weeks and will miss the remainder of the 2018 season.
The French midfielder recorded three goals and five assists in 14 games this season after earning promotion from NYRB II in December. Valot joined NYRB II in June of 2016 after graduating from Rider University.