New York derby exceeds Marsch's expectations

By Paul Kennedy

If you ever questioned MLS's wisdom of putting two teams in New York, that was answered on Sunday night at Red Bull Arena.

Did the first New York derby live up to its hype? "I knew it would be awesome in the stadium tonight," said Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch after their 2-1 win, "and I think it was incredible. It did exceed my expectations."

Both the Red Bulls and New York City FC got off to very rocky starts this year with the fallout from Mike Petke's firing and Frank Lampard's delayed signing, respectively, but you'd never been able to tell there had been talk of boycotts or requests for refunds of season tickets. Both sets of fans were in fine voice throughout the game, creating an electric atmosphere worthy of comparison to any derby elsewhere.

MLS: Week 10 Results & Standings, Week 11 Schedule

As for the match itself? Once again, the Red Bulls demonstrated they are one of the few MLS teams playing with any cohesion. Not a great team but a team getting the most out of players like Bradley Wright-Phillips, Lloyd Sam, Sacha Kljestan and Felipe. Even a man down, the Red Bulls looked comfortable for most of the game. Other teams might begin to catch up with the Red Bulls later in the season, but Marsch has certainly given the Red Bulls a head start.

"I felt like the focus on the details of what it was going to take to win that game was at the highest level for just about every single guy on the field for us," he said, "and that's going to make us better."

And NYCFC? Who'd have imagined its first trip across the Hudson would have ended with both David Villa and Mix Diskerud on the bench? Jason Kreis had different reasons for why he took them out, but the bottom line is two months into the MLS season NYCFC is a mess.

In the early going, NYCFC was far too reliant on Villa and now it's paying the price as Villa has been injured. Villa was frustrated he came off, but he understood Kreis was trying to manage his minutes.

"Of course, I always want to stay on the pitch," said Villa, "but Coach Kreis was looking out for me after my injury. Obviously, my team needs me, and I want to stay on the pitch as long as I can. Coach Kreis explained it to me. He didn't want to force anything -- I'm still recuperating -- and I think he did it in the best interest of myself and also the team."

Kreis wasn't happy with Diskerud's performance.

"I thought Mix was just not great tonight," he said. "I thought he was kind of in and around things and not making plays, either in the attacking half or the defensive half."

One of the few NYCFC players to draw Kreis' praise was Patrick Mullins, who came off the bench for Villa and scored the NYCFC goal.

"Patrick has been a guy for me that every time he plays he gives us everything he has," he said. "That's appreciated. Quite frankly, I think we need more guys who are willing to really give [their] everything."

MLS Scoring:
Week 1: 1.60
Week 2: 3.13
Week 3: 1.25
Week 4: 1.90
Week 5: 2.63
Week 6: 2.20
Week 7: 2.60
Week 8: 3.11
Week 9: 2.20
Week 10: 2.67
Season: 2.33

Week 10: Three goals you must watch

1. BLAS PEREZ vs. LA Galaxy. Perez's tying goal in the 77th minute of the 2-1 FC Dallas win was set up wonderfully by Mauro Diaz. Standing at the top of the penalty area, the Argentine scooped the ball over the entire Galaxy backline into the path of the charging Perez, who put the ball away. Soccer's version of the alley-oop?

2. DARREN MATTOCKS vs. Philadelphia. The Jamaican turned Maurice Edu inside and out, making him look silly, before capping a 3-0 win over lowly Philadelphia with his third goal of the season.

3. DIEGO VALERI vs. Montreal. Timbers fans are happy Valeri is back in action, eh? The Argentine, who made his first start of the 2015 season after being sidelined with a knee injury, curled a ball inside the far right post for what proved to be Portland's winner in a 2-1 win at Montreal.

What Worked in Week 10 ...

Given their recent form, who'd have put money on Houston over Toronto FC and Real Salt Lake over Chicago, both on the road? With Brad Davis out, Giles Barnes was handed the captain's armband by Houston coach Owen Coyle. Barnes didn't score but he had a big influence on the game as Houston ended a four-game winless streak with a 2-1 win that spoiled TFC's return to BMO Field.

RSL had not played terribly on Wednesday against the Galaxy but it was lucky to escape without a loss when Nick Rimando stopped Juninho's penalty kick in stoppage time. Rimando picked up his 100th MLS career win in the 2-1 victory against Chicago. Jordan Allen continued to demonstrate the form that earned him a place on the U.S. U-20 World Cup team with a pair of assists.

What Didn't Work in Week 10 ...

The Galaxy could have returned home with six points from two games at RSL and FCD but instead it earned just one, from the 0-0 tie in Utah. The loss to Dallas -- a match it led until the 77th minute -- hurt the most. Galaxy coach Bruce Arena took the blame for his team's poor end-of-game management.

“We didn’t do well at the end of the game in the last 15 minutes or so, and that’s my responsibility," he said afterward. "When a team plays that poorly on the road, they’re not well coached. We blew a lot of points this week, we could have stolen six points this week, and we walked away with one. That’s my responsibility; I have not done a good job with this team to get them tactically ready for games.”

National Team Watch

A game earlier than they'd like, the Red Bulls will lose Matt Miazga. He's headed to the Under-20 World Cup, but his red card against NYCFC means he'll sit out Friday's big game at FC Dallas, the last he was supposed to play before joining the U-20s for the trip to Australia ahead of the finals in New Zealand. Of the four New Zealand-bound MLS starters, Miazga has made the biggest contribution to his club, stepping in for Ronald Zubar after the Frenchman was injured in the season opener.

"Going away to the 20's, it's not an easy time for us right now," said Marsch, "but I think that it's an important moment for him. He's established himself here, he's become a real pro and now he gets to go on the world stage and against a bunch of players his age, put himself to the test against some of the best in the world and now see how he can hold up there and play for his country and see if he can help that team be successful so in the end, I'm excited for his opportunity to go."

U.S. UNDER-23s. Starters: Alashe (vs. Houston), Gil (vs. LA Galaxy and Chicago), Parker Polster, Shelton, Zimmerman. Sub: Dia. U.S. UNDER-20s. Starters: Acosta, Allen (vs. LA Galaxy and Chicago), Miazga, Pfeffer, Thompson (vs. Colorado). Sub: Jamieson (vs. FC Dallas). U.S. UNDER-18s. Starter: Palmer-Brown. Sub: Saucedo.
4 comments about "New York derby exceeds Marsch's expectations".
  1. Margaret Manning, May 11, 2015 at 9:08 p.m.

    What was the attendance at this "derby"?

  2. Ric Fonseca, May 11, 2015 at 9:09 p.m.

    Re: the head man of the LAG, since he's admitted that his recent loss and tie, is purely on him, then as he's the GM and head honcho-coach, will he fire himself as coach? Hmmm, just wondering!

  3. beautiful game, May 12, 2015 at 11:58 a.m.

    Best thing about the Derby was fan enthusiasm. As for the contest, good high school teams don't play into pressure as much as in the MLS. It is amazing how many players have no vision and recognition attributes. Pedal to the metal when a little bit of simple soccer IQ can do the job.

  4. Mike Jacome, May 14, 2015 at 4:32 p.m.

    Being a Seattle follower ihave to admit I was surprised for the fans' behavior, the TV transmitted a fan atmosphere that made the last Seattle-Portland match-up pale in comparison.

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