It was a first half footballing fiesta for the red half of New York. In a woeful forty-five minutes for New York City, the Red Bulls literally ran riot as Patrick Vieira’s men looked totally devoid of energy or tactical purpose in the River Hudson derby. They certainly looked like a team totally unprepared for the sweltering heat and the urgent tempo with which the Red Bulls started the game. With French legend, Patrick Vieira, still in good favor with the worldwide City Football Group he will soon have to show some type of tactical improvement if he is to move back to Europe to one of the ‘Big’ jobs that may be available next Summer when Vieira’s contract is up.
It was a superb start for the Red Bulls as centre-forward Wright-Phillips took advantage of the early disarray in the City backline by springing a terrible high line trying to push up offside; Johnson saved but could only palm into the grateful path of youngster Kaku (the clubs first Young Designated Player) who easily passed into the empty net. This was Kaku’s second goal in two games following last week’s match-winning penalty last week. The $6m dollar Argentine wheeled away in delight as the City defenders looked to place blame on one another.
The total lack of defensive concentration was compounded in just the 4th minute as the Red Bulls swept through the ranks to score a second goal to the delight of the home fans. It was a stunning start for the Red Bulls as the ball was thread to Valot and with a heavy deflection beat the goalkeeper to go 2-0. There was no answer from the City organization the players were filled with apathy and Vieira stood befuddled on the sideline like a statue, arms folded. The Red Bulls, led by the powerful Wright-Phillips who bullied the City back line constantly, winning headers and holding up play to significant effect. The Red Bulls pressured the ball all over the pitch and looked physically and mentally to be the only team really interested or concerned about the game. NYC’s Villa looked completely cut adrift from the rest of the team and his aimless running was then followed by several petulant fouls hardly becoming the team’s apparent leader.
In the 35th minute Wright-Phillips, tireless first-half efforts got his rewards – the only surprise is that it took so long for the Bulls to turn their dominance into a final goal scoring product. From a throw in their own half the ball made its way to Lawrence who set up an intricate yet fluid passing move involving five players – once Kaku received the ball on the edge of the box he bought himself some time and delivered a telling cross into the bustling Wright-Phillips who powerfully headed home, completely unmarked on the edge of the six-yard box giving Johnson (City’s keeper) absolutely no chance. The game was done and dusted in that moment, yet we still had 55 minutes to play.
New York City who sat proudly at the top of the Eastern Conference after ten games had been demolished by the high temp press of their bitter city rivals. The city had won all three encounters last season, however, there would be no way back for the visitors. Viera offered no answers from the bench and looked for damage limitation in the second half – in some respects, it was the only positive to show for a poor day at the office. The dominant Red Bulls rounded off the scoring in the 79th minute as Etienne – raised in New Jersey – came off the bench in an inspirational substitution to round the forlorn City goalkeeper to score the fourth goal.
The Red Bulls were hardworking, tactically sound and savvy in their all-around play and their manager will be extremely proud of his teams’ production and of the result. Despite being top, New York City’s lethargy was there for the whole nation to see. Vieira will have to instill a better work rate from his broken players. He now has eight days before they travel to Los Angeles FC, eight days to get his team and his own reputation back on the right tracks – this extremely poor showing, exacerbated by childish arguing on the pitch, could be the first heavy defeat into a season of disappointment.