Taken from the Winter 2016 issue of the Box To Box magazine – Issue 3: The Rivalries, Mitchell Petit-Frere takes a look at the short history behind the Hudson River Derby in New York

The Hudson River flows southward from upstate New York down towards Jersey City where it eventually drains out into the Atlantic Ocean. The waterway serves as a border between New York and New Jersey, the two US states that host Major League Soccer’s (MLS) Hudson River Derby.

The Derby is played three times each season between the New York Red Bulls and New York City Football Club (NYCFC), barring any meetings in cup matches.

The Red Bulls have been around since MLS’s inaugural season in 1996, but were initially named the New York/ New Jersey Metrostars. The franchise was bought by Red Bull in the build up to the 2006 season, and along with the buyout came a total re-branding, marking the end of the Metrostar era. The Red Bulls’ transformation was complete in 2010 when the team’s new soccer specific stadium, Red Bull Arena , opened in Harrison, New Jersey, thus marking the end of the club’s tenure playing at the Giants Stadium.NYCFC are on the opposite side of the historical spectrum. The club currently serve as one of the league’s two newest franchises, having just completed its second season. The team’s expansion fee, the entry price new clubs must pay in order to join the league, was paid by Manchester City and the New York Yankees, immediately cementing the club’s aspirations of becoming an economic and cultural force. Those aspirations were put into

NYCFC are on the opposite side of the historical spectrum. The club currently serve as one of the league’s two newest franchises, having just completed its second season. The team’s expansion fee, the entry price new clubs must pay in order to join the league, was paid by Manchester City and the New York Yankees, immediately cementing the club’s aspirations of becoming an economic and cultural force. Those aspirations were put into practice with the signing of global superstars David Villa, Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo before year one and the hiring of Patrick Vieira as manager before year two. The first two years of the Hudson River Derby have been marked by Red Bull dominance. To date, the Red Bulls have five wins to NYCFC’s single victory. The rivalry is still in its infancy and it will remain that way for years to come – or at least until a slew of future fixtures

The first two years of the Hudson River Derby have been marked by Red Bull dominance. To date, the Red Bulls have five wins to NYCFC’s single victory. The rivalry is still in its infancy and it will remain that way for years to come – or at least until a slew of future fixtures produce a few moments that have ramifications outside of bragging rights.

Nevertheless, out of the six derbies played thus far, there has been one match that will stand the test of time. Not because it marked any monumental shift in power or wound up being a title decider, but because it was the type of game that will forever be a source of pride to the victors and permanent humiliation to the losers – think of Manchester City’s 6-1 win at Old Trafford in 2011 , Barcelona’s 5-0 drubbing of Real Madrid the same year or Chelsea’s 6-0 annihilation of Arsenal in 2014. The game took place on May 21, 2016

The game took place on May 21, 2016 and will be bookmarked as the first indelible match of the Hudson River Derby. It was the Red Bulls’ 7-0 mauling of NYCFC at the Yankee Stadium.
Patrick Vieira’s squad went into the game high on confidence, in the midst of a club record five-match unbeaten run. Not to be outdone, the Red Bulls arrived at Yankee Stadium with a form sheet that read three wins, one loss and one draw. The match was scheduled to kick off at 3:00 pm local time but was pushed back roughly 35 minutes because FOX, the channel that was set to nationally televise the match, was still airing the FA Cup Final between Manchester United and Crystal Palace th

The match was scheduled to kick off at 3:00 pm local time but was pushed back roughly 35 minutes because FOX, the channel that was set to nationally televise the match, was still airing the FA Cup Final between Manchester United and Crystal Palace that had entered extra time.
The delay wasn’t the best circumstance for combatting and controlling adrenaline – especially for a NYCFC team looking for its first ever derby win.

Whether it was nerves, a lack of focus or a mixture of both, NYCFC went down a goal after just three minutes when Red Bull captain Dax McCarty headed home a corner kick. And after a pair of Bradley Wright-Phillips goals on the stroke of halftime, NYCFC found themselves entering the interval with little hope of picking up a point, let alone three.Fast forward to the 51st minute and McCarty found the back of the net again. It was

Fast forward to the 51st minute and McCarty found the back of the net again. It was game, set, match at that point. But there was still salt left to add to NYCFC’s wounds. Each of the Red Bulls’ three

But there was still salt left to add to NYCFC’s wounds. Each of the Red Bulls’ three second half substitutes scored to inflate the scoreline to 7-0, leaving Vieira with nothing to do during his postgame press conference but break out an optimistic platitude – “It’s always good to lose one game 7-0 than seven games 1-0”.

McCarty, on the other hand, took to Twitter for a bit of banter, tweeting “ Touchdown #RBNY ” – a sly nod to the fact that the scoreline matched that of most American football games after a team opens the scoring with a touchdown.The Hudson River Derby will remain in its infancy for the next decade or so, but the rivalry has the potential to ingratiate itself into the good graces of American soccer culture. The banter topics already exist – from the Red Bulls’ New Jersey complex to NYCFC’s lack of history – which means it’s only a matter of time before the on-pitch action lives up to the

The Hudson River Derby will remain in its infancy for the next decade or so, but the rivalry has the potential to ingratiate itself into the good graces of American soccer culture. The banter topics already exist – from the Red Bulls’ New Jersey complex to NYCFC’s lack of history – which means it’s only a matter of time before the on-pitch action lives up to the hype off it.