Reaction: NYCFC Wins Latest Hudson River Derby

(NYCFC’s David Villa edges out Sal Zizzo of the Red Bulls for a loose ball – USA Today Sports) 

New York City Football Club won the lasted installment of the Hudson River Derby, 3-2, on Sunday night at Yankee Stadium.

David Villa led the way for NYCFC with a hat trick, giving him 17 goals on the season. It was his first MLS hat trick.

Bradley Wright-Phillips scored both Red Bulls goals, and he now has 12 goals this season.

Wright-Phillips now has 82 career MLS regular-season goals and improved his all-competition total to 91 career goals. BWP’s 82 career MLS regular-season goals moved him into a three-way tie for 14th in MLS history with Brian Ching and Raul Diaz Arce.

NYCFC Head Coach Patrick Vieira:

On David Villa’s performance: “He’s fantastic. He’s our leader when he’s performing like that – that lifts the team and players are behind him and follow him. So when David is playing very well, the team is playing well. And today was David.”

On the appreciation of watching David Villa vs. Bradley Wright-Phillips: “It was a big game and it was a derby game. That was, I think when you’re on the winning side, it’s more easy to say, that was a big game. Not just because it’s a derby but I think tactically, it was a very interesting game. Both teams, I believe, played well which is why I believe that everybody that was in the stands and watching on TV really enjoyed the game – that was a really good game of football, and what made it a good game of football was players like Wright-Phillips, like David [Villa] they perform at their level. I have to say this game today, we have to put it in the top three best games that we played since I’ve been the coach of the team because the scenario of course went on our side and it was very good. The scenario and the quality of the game, the technical level of the game, to have a game like that, it takes two teams. It was very difficult for us because the Red Bulls have a fantastic team and they play very well and in the beginning of the week I was saying that if we wanted to win this game, we needed every player to be at their best. And today, we needed to be at our best to win against the Red Bulls.”

On the growth of NYCFC and their ability to come back in games: “We have the ability to respond when we have our backs against the wall. But, we are not the big team yet. Because a big team plays every week like today. We are not available to do it at the moment. So, this game is fantastic. We won the game, we’ll take the three points, but I expect more consistency from the team.”

NYCFC Forward David Villa:

On being the leader and delivering for the team: “I try to do my best always, in the training facility or in games. I try to show the young players I arrived to where I arrive because I always give 100% on the pitch. Sometimes you can play well like today and score three goals and sometimes you can play bad like in Toronto the other day, like I did, but it is mandatory to give 100% and I try to do that. If they show me like a leader, it is a pleasure to me.”

On the importance of scoring a hat trick today: “I’ve scored a lot of doubles, I never did a hat trick, but it is important because we needed it today and we needed one more goal. And it is important because we were able to achieve all three points.

On coming back to get the victory: “I don’t like to come back every time, I hope we’re not always in the same situation, but it’s great. If you look at the team it is great, the whole feeling. Today the team went down then back up so it was great.”

New York Red Bulls Head Coach Jesse Marsch:

On his team’s performance: “Yeah, the best stretch for us was at the start of the second half. We got the goal and then they upped their energy a bit. I thought that the referee reffed the score. Like all of a sudden we started to get some calls when we went down a goal, but in the meantime, he’s giving them so many soft fouls. So many little things going for them that they end up getting an edge on. Even the play that leads to the second goal Kemar Lawrence gets fouled on the sideline and he calls a throw-in. So VAR can’t correct the inability to see a game clearly and make all the little plays right. It can help with the big plays, but then we need refs who can understand how to ref the rest of the game. Cause there is more to the game than the moments that lead to goals and I felt like it was hard to gain momentum within the match when every time a guy goes down on a soft foul, they get a call. It makes it difficult. And I’ll say this. I haven’t talked about the ref one time this year so I’m not making excuses. I give New York City credit. But I’ve been on my best behavior from referee perspective this year, but this one was too much to swallow.”

On David Villa’s performance: “Yeah, he’s a tough guy to deal with and Aaron Long had the responsibility of trying to take care of him a lot today. So you know, it’s a big experience for Aaron to be a part of and you know, he came up second on a few too many plays and that’s what happens when you play against high level guys. You have to understand that you have to be sharp upstairs. You have to be alert for every moment. You can’t give them any space because when you do he can hurt you. And obviously, he’s a quality player. There’s nothing more to say.”

On Bradley Wright Phillips: “I mean, Bradley is our version of David Villa. Two great goals from him. He loves these games. I don’t know if it’s from watching his dad growing up, but for whatever reason he really relishes the big stage and the big moments of these big games and he’s clearly been, if you go over the history, the best player over the two and a half years. Bradley is an amazing guy. An amazing leader on our team. And a great player. Two great goals. Just classy finishes and it should have been enough. Really at 2-1, it should have been enough to walk out of here with at least a draw, if not three points.”

Does having NYCFC winning a few of these series add something to the rivalry?

“Listen, when you have moments like this, this means something to our players and the fans. And it means so much to us, but you almost feel a responsibility to the fans and the club more than you even feel responsibility to each other within the team. So when you come up short now two times, it certainly makes the next game really huge and we’re really disappointed. We had great support from our fans and you know, when you have to look up there at the end of the game, you feel guilty and disappointed that you didn’t do more for your fans to celebrate. Especially when it was right there for us. But this is what this sport is and this is what great rivalries are, so it’s a crappy feeling but we’re going to find a way to continue to have great resilience. We’ve been in a really good way and we’re going to continue to find ways to push forward and be a better team so that when we’re in this situation again, we will be more prepared.”

New York Red Bulls midfielder & captain Sacha Kljestan

On the game: “We didn’t have a very good start to the game, so to sneak our way to 2-1, it felt good. I think we got a little excited that we were going to grab a result and get out of here. Unfortunately we gave up a couple of goals in quick secession. And unfortunately we lose tonight. But the last two months have been pretty good. Perhaps not enough big performances from enough guys tonight and unfortunately we lose.”

How things changed in the second half: “Really, I just think that David VIlla made a couple of good plays. I think on the penalty, I’m not sure, I’d like to see it again, but the first goal, obviously we need to confront him a little higher up the field and maybe take a professional foul to slow him up. But you don’t think he’s going to dribble forty yards and put one in the corner. So you know, we have to give credit to him tonight cause he obviously had a fantastic game.”

On the rivalry: “It’s good. It’s exciting. It’s definitely better than going somewhere else in this league and playing in front of 10,000 fans in an empty stadium. So I think this rivalry has been good. It’s been good for MLS. It’s been good for both sides. It’s ignited both of our teams in certain ways and for the most part, we’ve gotten the better of them. But this season, they’ve won two out of three against us, so we know that we have one more game against them to try to even this thing up.”

On some of the weaker performances by certain players on his team: “I think Jesse [Marsch] said it best in the locker room when he said that this was a test in the middle of our season. A pretty big one. And we just didn’t pass it tonight. But for the past six to eight weeks, we’ve had very good performances all across the field. And in a big game like that, you need big game performances from everybody if you’re going to win. We got two goals on the road, which is big. Bradley Wright Phillips came up huge. We should be able to protect some kind of lead, or get a point with getting two goals on the road. So I’m not worried. We just have to get over this loss and we know we have a very big week with Orlando coming up.”

New York Red Bulls forward Bradley Wright-Phillips

On building off of the game: “I hope so. We scored two goals away from home and play alright and we could have gotten the win. But the goals we gave up today were not up to par. It was bad.”

On scoring two goals against NYCFC: “It doesn’t feel good. We just lost this one. We’ve lost two games in a row to them now. It just doesn’t feel good. I don’t know what you can say to that. I’ve tried to explain this before, I don’t care about goals as much as you think. I mean, I obviously want to score, but we lost to our rivals today. And we’re not going to get joy from that.”

On Tyler Adams finding him for the second goal: “It was a great cutback. It was fortunate there because I didn’t really make a run into the box there. I was kind of lazy in the movement. But it found it’s way to me and I put it on target.”

New York Red Bulls Goalkeeper Luis Robles:

On his overall performance in the match: “I’ll start with the positive. To get two goals on the road is a good sign whereas in the first half of the season we weren’t scoring any goals on the road. If you look at the last month and even today’s result we are getting opportunities. With that being said, with the quality of this team two goals should be more than enough. From that standpoint defensively we were not good enough. It starts with me. Just watching the second goal I feel I could have done better with it and I’m at fault for that and I’ll put my hand up for that. Just all around, we have to be better when going against a good team in a tough atmosphere but nonetheless a fun atmosphere, not necessarily hostile. It’s fun to play in these games. We’re hoping with this experience we will continue to get stronger, we will learn from it and bounce back next week.”

On gaining learning experience with a young roster this season: “It absolutely is a learning experience but we have a lot of belief starting from Jesse and everyone in this locker room with our young guys and when you look at the beginning of the season and where there were some growing pains this may be part of it, but nonetheless we know that there are guys in this locker room regardless of their age and their experience that are ready to contribute, that are ready to come on the field and make a difference but collectively we have to do that. From the more experienced guys to the guys that are inexperienced and we know that when we come on the field together and we execute the way that we want to and we stay compact then we are very difficult to play against regardless of who’s in there. The belief is still very high in this group. We are going to take this week to learn and I know we are going to bounce back because there is great resiliency with this group.”

On losing the derby with NYCFC: “Every loss is tough. Especially when you go on a run like us and you haven’t been losing, now you get that familiar taste in your mouth and it’s bitter but obviously it hurts a little more because it is them. But we’re not unrealistic. We know that we’ve had the better part of the rivalry and things will swing but for us we want to put together a performance we are proud of and I think realistically today when we look at our performance it’s something that we cannot necessarily be proud of starting with myself all the way to the top.”

NYCFC Goalkeeper Sean Johnson:

On the importance of the game: “Yeah, I think it was very important, we understood the importance not just for what it meant to the city in regards to the derby but where we were in the standings, I’m not sure in the past years how it has been in regards to how close to teams have been at the time of the derby but they were two points behind us so it was very important for us to come away with the win to create that separation and get closer to the number one spot.”

On David Villa: “Yeah David is always hungry of first and foremost win games, he is not happy when he doesn’t score goals but he is a guy who speaks with his actions and everybody kind of follows through his work ethic. He has quality that speaks for itself and I am happy to have him on the team.”

On Villa’s leadership: “Honestly he has been a tremendous player, his work ethic first and foremost I see that every single game and that’s what you want to see from your top scorer year after year his quality speaks for itself and big games call big players to step up and he put the team on his back.”

NYCFC Forward Khiry Shelton:

On what it’s like to make his return to the pitch today: “It was a lot of emotions of course. It’s been a while so it was a joyride. When I came in around the 60th minute, it was amazing. It’s good to be back out there with the boys, honestly. I wanted to play, so I didn’t know if I was going to, but I wanted to, so they gave me the opportunity. Hopefully, I did enough to keep myself in the 18.”

On NYCFC’s victory: “[The game] was huge, especially against [the Red Bulls]. It’s a derby game and we want to win this game because there’s a lot of people that do a lot of talking, so they’re a good side, they’re a really good side and this game’s always important.”

On how the team’s improved between the Hudson River Derbies of 2016 and 2017: “Everyone talks about last year’s [7-0] upset and we don’t look at that. That was a one time thing and it happens to good teams. We’re a really good team, and we never thought about [the 7-0 defeat] this year and we’ve moved on way past that. We just focus on what we need to focus on and we get the job done.”

 

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