Keys to the Match | Soak It In And Set The Tempo 


New York City FC are preparing for a meeting with fierce rivals the Red Bulls on Saturday.

Here’s the Keys to the Match, presented by Tri-State Ford…

Battle Of The Press

One of the central components of the Red Bulls' tactical identity is pressing.

That trait has survived through several different coaches, and is seen as an effective way to generate high-quality chances. At the same time, Ronny Deila has blended a high press into his own ethos as a means to recover the ball when possession is lost.

That means both teams will apply an intensity when they don’t have the ball. How both sides deal with that will likely influence which team creates the better chances.

NYCFC have shown an ability to perform well under pressure this season, and this will be another test of this fact.

First Time Out

This will be the first meeting between New York City FC and the Red Bulls this season. The two teams enter the game in very different positions. NYCFC are still trying to catch the New England Revolution at the top of the Eastern Conference, while the Red Bulls are hoping to string together a run of form that will put them above the line and into the playoffs.

Neither team needs any more motivation to win this game, what between the three points and bragging rights, but this could very easily be a game that both teams look back on as being an important moment in their season.

Soak It In And Set The Tempo

While the focus of this weekend will be on three points, bragging rights, and so much more, the presence of fans in the stadium should not be taken for granted.

The Hudson River Derby will conjure a fantastic atmosphere, and that will be a marvelous backdrop to this showpiece occasion.

Ronny Deila and his team will be aiming to silence the home crowd, and so much of that will be defined by how they start the game. It is often said that form is irrelevant in derby matches, and that gives greater importance to how a team handles the moment.

That means setting a standard early on, winning those early skirmishes, and hoping that sets you on a path to victory.

Width, Width, Width

New York City FC are no strangers to stretching the field and asking a lot from their fullbacks.

Whether operating as a back four or a back five, Ronny Deila sees value in asking the likes of Anton Tinnerholm and Gudi Thórarinsson to get forward and stay wide when the team are in possession.

The benefit of this is twofold as it forces the opposition's wide players backwards, while also allowing NYCFC to create spaces throughout the field and make the most of their short passing game.

As podcaster and Red Bulls fan Mark Fishkin explained on The Away End this week, Gerhard Struber also puts a lot of attacking emphasis on his wingbacks.

“The Red Bulls get so much out of their wingbacks,” he said. “Deila should play centrally to keep the ball from them. Funneling New York's play through the middle will disrupt the Red Bulls' attack.”

Fishkin’s suggestion is certainly an interesting one, and it will be fascinating to see which formation Ronny Deila decides to use against the Red Bulls, with the wide areas likely to be a busy place on Saturday.

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