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NYCFC Win First Hudson River Derby Of 2024

New York City FC recorded its first win during the first edition of the 2024 Hudson River Derby. City took the lead after three minutes through Hannes Wolf. The visitors would find an equalizer in first-half stoppage time through Cameron Harper. City would retake the lead through Mounsef Bakrar in the 64th minute. The Algerian’s strike would prove to be the matchwinner, with City taking all three points on derby day. 

NYCFC forward Monsef Bakrar
NYCFC forward Monsef Bakrar (9) celebrates after scoring. Photo: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

NYCFC 2 NY Red Bulls 1

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The World’s Borough was the setting for the 28th installment [across all competitions] of the Hudson River Derby on Saturday night. 

New York City FC was seeking to stretch its unbeaten run to three games after impressive road wins against Toronto FC and Philadelphia Union. 

Head Coach Nick Cushing made four changes to the side that recorded a 2-1 win at Subaru Park on Wednesday night with Tayvon Gray, James Sands, and Malachi Jones all restored to the starting XI in place of Mitja Ilenič, Andrés Perea, and Agustín Ojeda. Elsewhere, there was a first MLS start for Serbian striker Jovan Mijatović as he came in for Alonso Martínez. 

First Half

A raucous atmosphere had been building long before kickoff and that encouraged a fast start from both teams, with City striking first through Hannes Wolf after just three minutes. 

Inspired by a brilliant driving run and cross from Jones, the winger was able to burst past his defender and put in a low delivery that evaded everyone but Wolf. 

Far from rushing the chance, Wolf then showed supreme composure to settle the ball with his first touch before slamming the ball past Carlos Coronel in goal. 

Red Bulls were quick in their attempts to strike back and that saw Frankie Amaya fire off a shot from the edge of the box that took a wicked deflection en route to goal. Thankfully for City, Matt Freese adjusted quickly and gathered the ball into his arms. 

City almost made it two in the 15th minute after a corner was cleared into the path of Gray. The defender opted for a curled shot with his weaker foot that forced Coronel into a good save down low to his right. 

The contest showed no signs of slowing down heading into the half-hour mark with both teams unwilling to relent. 

In the 33rd minute, a dangerous freekick from the Red Bulls required a well-timed intervention from Birk Risa – one of several key interceptions the defensive unit would make during the first 45 minutes. 

Jones was proving an influential presence in the final third, and he was handed a great chance to double City’s advantage from a corner, but he was unable to direct his header on target. Minutes later, Jones connected with a cross from Gray, but was again unable to trouble Coronel. 

At the other end, a driving run from Dante Vanzier saw the striker cut in from the left and fire off a shot that Thiago Martins was able to deflect behind for a corner. 

Despite City coming close to a second on several occasions, it would be the Red Bulls that struck next, Cameron Harper scoring from distance early into first-half stoppage time. 

New York Red Bulls forward Cory Burke (7) fights for a high ball against New York City FC defender Thiago
New York Red Bulls forward Cory Burke (7) fights for a high ball against New York City FC defender Thiago (13) during the second half at Citi Field. Photo: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Second Half

The start of the second half saw an early chance for City as Parks rose highest to flick the ball toward goal – his header landing just wide of the target. 

Cushing waited until the 58th minute to make his first chance of the evening as Mijatović came off for Mounsef Bakrar – the Algerian making an almost instant impact on the contest by restoring City’s lead six minutes after coming on. 

Arriving in much the same way as City’s first goal, this time it was Gray’s low cross that proved a problem for the Red Bulls defense. Where Wolf had been the beneficiary in the first half, there waiting to gobble up the chance was Bakrar – the forward enjoying an emotional embrace with his coach in the wake of his goal. 

City would seek to add fresh legs in the 72nd minute as Rodríguez and Jones departed the field to be replaced by Perea and Ojeda. 

The visitors were by no means out of the contest and they reminded City of that through a dipping shot by Amaya that landed on top of Freese’s net. 

Bakrar almost earned himself a brace after reacting first to a loose ball and unleashing a fierce half-volley that rattled Coronel’s crossbar. 

City’s final change of the evening saw the tireless Wolf leave the field to a huge ovation from the home support. In his place came Ilenič. 

Red Bulls would be reduced to ten men deep into injury time after Sean Nealis brought down Ilenič with a late tackle. 

That would be the last major action of the evening, with the referee’s full-time whistle confirming a huge Hudson River Derby win for City. 

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Next Game

New York City FC travels to take on the New England Revolution on Saturday, May 25 at 7:30pm ET at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Broadcast: Apple TV | Radio:  

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