Red Bulls striker Bradley Wright-Phillips – the reigning MLS Golden Boot winner, after his 24-goal campaign a year ago – netted a pair of goals in his club’s 2-0 win at Philadelphia Union on Sunday afternoon. That’s something NYCFC won’t be thrilled to see: In six meetings all-time with NYCFC, Wright-Phillips has scored eight goals, scoring in five of the games. Last year, Wright-Phillips scored four goals in the three matches between the teams, netting two goals on two occasions.
The rivalry will also be personified in a pair of young guns who are already making their mark on the international stage. Yangel Herrera returned to action for NYCFC last weekend for the first time after returning from the FIFA U-20 World Cup, where he won the Bronze Ball in leading Venezuela to a stunning second-place finish. In the quarterfinals, Venezuela eliminated the USA with a 2-1 win in extra time – a U.S. squad featuring Red Bulls midfielder Tyler Adams, who has also returned to his usual starting spot in his club’s lineup.
It’s been a rivalry owned by the Red Bulls -- the teams have met six times in regular-season play, and the Red Bulls have won five, with an 18-5 goal differential. The Red Bulls have never lost to NYCFC at Red Bull Arena, and NYCFC surely hasn’t forgotten their 7-0 loss to the Red Bulls last May 21 at Yankee Stadium, matching the largest margin of victory in MLS history. The Red Bulls further piled on earlier this year, with a 1-0 win in the U.S. Open Cup.