HARRISON, NEW JERSEY — When it comes to sporting rivalries, there are few things more aesthetically pleasing on the playing surface of choice than the clash of red vs. blue; It could manifest itself with Ohio State’s Scarley and Gray against Michigan’s Maize and Blue on the gridiron; the Merseyside Derby matching eternal rivals Liverpool and Everton in the top flight of English soccer; or, finally, on the ice, when the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils provide these colors with another sense of passion.
Within Major League Soccer, these colors are best exemplified by the combatants that constitute the “Hudson River Derby,” with the red worn by the New York Red Bulls, one of the original MLS franchises, and the blue donned by New York City Football Club, the “baby brother” who has what the Red Bulls have yet to claim in their near-three decades of existence, an MLS Cup. It is always a chippy contest whenever these two clubs meet, and Thursday night, in a newly-created competition, the same feistiness was still very evident. And in a repeat of the one other matchup earlier in the season, the “New York Derby” would remain red at the final whistle.
In a case of déjà vu, it was Bronx-born Omir Fernandez who stepped up to the penalty spot and dispatched the only goal of the game in the 31st minute, giving the Red Bulls a 1-0 victory over New York City to advance to the Round of 16 in the Leagues Cup. Fernandez also scored the only goal of the game back on May 13, when the Red Bulls won the first matchup between the squads in league play.
After the game, Red Bulls head coach Troy LeSesne was asked on how his team would carry over their tenacity into their Round of 16 matchup.
“For tonight, it was a collective effort,” LeSesne said. “This match means a little bit more to them … and I think that gives us a great advantage. You can see that level of fight in the group tonight and we’re going to need that same mentality against Philly to give ourselves a chance.”
The “Boys in Red” will head down I-95 South on Monday for their Round of 16 matchup against the Philadelphia Union, who outlasted D.C. United in a penalty shootout to advance on Thursday.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Thursday evening’s contest, with all photos taken by New York City area photographer Danny Suriel. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 18 pictures in total.