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Five Points: New York Is Blue

May 20, 2024 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
New York City FC News Release

New York City FC secured a huge Hudson River Derby win against the Red Bulls on Saturday night.

Goals from Hannes Wolf and Mounsef Bakrar handed City a 2-1 win.

Here are Five Points from the game...

New York is Blue

As we discussed in the build-up to Saturday's game, the Hudson River Derby is about so much more than just three points.

A victory also means local bragging rights and after some frustrating results against Red Bulls last season it was nice to stretch the team's unbeaten run with a win on derby day.

The team has been tested across the last three games, with each opponent presenting a unique challenge. To emerge with nine points from those games is not only a huge achievement but also a testament to the hard work and development of the group as a whole. Many of the intangible qualities required to win a derby, such as heart, resilience, and courage were in big supply against Red Bulls and that handed a deserved win to the Boys in Blue.

City fans can now enjoy this week knowing that something remains true - New York is Blue!

From The Off

New York City FC took less than three minutes to break the deadlock against the Red Bulls.

This was the second consecutive game in which City have taken the lead inside the opening five minutes, and if their goal against Philadelphia Union midweek was about fast transitions, their opener against Red Bulls was all about a well-executed team move.

Nine different City players were involved in the construction of the goal that was ultimately finished by Hannes Wolf. That early strike, and the way in which it was scored, signaled City's intention to dictate the game on their terms.

The courage to play out from the back so early on was duly rewarded with a memorable opening goal and perfectly set the tone for the evening.

Mounsef's Moment

This is why we love the game of football.

Mounsef Bakrar's Hudson River Derby goal was a fitting reward for his months of hard work and sacrifice, with everyone involved with the Club delighted to see him make the scoresheet.

The striker has so far endured a challenging season in front of goal despite working incredibly hard on the training pitch and in matches.

Nick Cushing has consistently praised Bakrar's work ethic and commitment to improving his game - stating on several occasions that Bakrar will eventually be rewarded with goals. That show of faith was proven justified on Saturday thanks to a game-winning goal in the derby, and it was touching to see Bakrar run straight to Cushing after the ball went in.

The forward etched his name into Hudson River Derby folklore, and while he is already focused on trying to score more goals, it was beautiful to see his first goal of the season come at such a vital moment.


"I knew there was going to be an amazing crowd tonight and I wanted to get that twelfth player," Nick Cushing said.

The atmosphere was bouncing at Citi Field long before kick-off, and as the first whistle approached things ramped up to another gear.

Nick Cushing was nothing but appreciative of the effort the home crowd made - comparing the first-half experience to that of the 2022 playoff game against Inter Miami CF - and that enjoyment was shared by the players.

Whether it was the unforgettable pregame Tifo display or the chants that spurred the players on, it was a special night in the World's Borough.

Things peaked once more when full-time came around, with the players running straight to the supporters' section to celebrate a big derby win.

Get It Wide

There was a shared theme with City's two goals on the night - they both arrived via crosses.

For the first goal, a lot of credit must go to Malachi Jones and his off-the-ball movement. Jones starts on the touchline before darting inside on the blindside of Dylan Nealis.

As Jones receives the ball, defender Noah Eile moves across to close him down. Eile's decision forced John Tolkin to decide between marking Hannes Wolf or Jovan Mijatović. That confusion created enough space for Wolf, who read the play expertly, to finish.

City's second goal was a similar story with clever play out wide undoing the Red Bulls. This time it was Tayvon Gray making a smart run to create space for Wolf.

City recycled the ball well, and although Gray created space for Wolf to drive inside, the Austrian made a smart decision by playing a reverse pass into his teammate.

That allowed Gray to put in a low cross for Mounsef Bakrar to finish. City caused the Red Bulls problems out wide throughout the game. Their mix of individual ability and clever combinations left their opponents struggling to cope and ultimately helped City secure all three points.

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