The regular season may only just have resumed but there’s no waiting around for big games. Thursday night sees the first New York Derby of the campaign, as New York Red Bulls host NYCFC at Red Bull Arena (7pm ET).
After both were underwhelming at the MLS is Back Tournament in Florida, NYRB and New York City FC will be hoping to do better now that the regular season has returned.
Here USAbetting previews this Hudson River Derby before giving our NYRB vs NYCFC predictions and betting picks.
Offensive struggles for Red Bulls
The Red Bulls failed to make it out of the groups in Florida and the main reason was a lack of power in the final third. The off-season loss of record goal-getter Bradley Wright-Phillips, who left for LAFC, was always going to leave Chris Armas’ men short up top, though the hole left probably wasn’t expected to be as big as it appeared to be at the MLS is Back Tournament. In three games, NYRB scored just one goal, which simply isn’t good enough.
Creativity also an issue
Not only did Chris Armas’ side come up short in terms of getting the ball in the net in Florida, but they also struggled to create chances. Just six shots against Atlanta showed a lack of forward potency, while the fact that they went an entire match against Columbus without registering a shot on target also highlighted creative weaknesses. So did a three-game average of just 1.03 expected goals for.
NYCFC better in the final third?
While Red Bulls floundered in terms of goals scored in Florida, NYCFC did OK. For a start, their attacking efforts in the groups allowed them to progress, playing two extra matches before exiting at the hands of eventual tournament winners Portland Timbers. In five matches, New York City FC scored an average of 1.2 goals, which was far better than NYRB’s average of 0.33. How did the team in the light blue jerseys fare in terms of creativity? In Florida, Ronny Deila’s men averaged a respectable 1.48 expected goals for, which again beats the stats Thursday’s opponents delivered.
No away wins in sight
Historically, this has been a fixture that has played into the hands of whichever side has the luxury of hosting. Since NYCFC came onto the scene in 2015, the pair have faced each other on no less than 17 occasions. Only three of those 17 matches have been won by the team playing away from the comforts of home. The home side has won five of the last six.
Lack of goals for the visitors
In addition to the hosting team performing well in terms of results in this fixture, there has been a real shortage of visiting goals. Each of the last three renewals has seen the visiting side score a solitary goal, though no more than a single goal has been scored by the away team in each of the last seven meetings between New York’s MLS contingent. Both teams have found the net in only 47% of the previous New York derbies, which isn’t exactly in keeping with a league that generally averages well over 50% when it comes to both teams scoring.
Where’s the money going?
At the time of writing, the moneyline odds with the top ranked oddsmakers have the pair evenly matched. Given that this is a Hudson River derby match, in which form often goes out of the window, then the odds are probably fair. If we consider what each side has done in recent times, then it’s easy to feel that the visitors aren’t getting the respect that they quite deserve.
NYCFC worth siding with
Visitors haven’t done well in this fixture historically, but if we put that aside and focus purely on the recent efforts of the two teams and then look at how they’re shaping up, NYCFC look the more advanced.
Deila’s side showed that they have got no lack of firepower in Florida, which is not something that can be said for the Red Bulls, who struggled offensively. It is the team in blue that carries the stronger underlying numbers too, especially from an attacking point of view. Overall, this term, NYCFC average 14.5 shots per 90, as well as 5.1 shots on target per 90. In contrast, Red Bulls average 10.6 shots per 90 and just 3.4 shots on target per 90. Moreover, New York City FC have a +0.32 advantage in terms of expected goals created per 90 minutes this season.
At the end of the day, as briefly touched on in this preview above, derby matches can go either way, and form quite often counts for nothing. Those looking for an angle ahead of this game should view NYCFC’s superior attacking output favorably, so much so that the visitors look ever so slightly on the large side in the betting. On this basis, a wager on the visitors, which offers a slice of value, is advised in our NY Red Bulls vs NYCFC predictions and picks: