The New York Red Bulls and NYCFC looked to get off to strong starts to the 2016 Major League Soccer season. However, both teams started slow, as the Red Bulls are off to a 1-2 start, while NYCFC stands at .500 with a 1-1-1 start.
NYCFC is led by first-year head coach Patrick Viera, who spent his playing days as a midfielder and was the Football Development Executive at Manchester City. Key players for NYCFC include team captain David Villa, midfielder Andrea Pirlo, goalkeeper Josh Saunders, defender R.J. Allen and midfielder Frank Lampard.
The Red Bulls are led by second-year head coach Jesse Marsch, who took over coaching duties on Jan. 7, 2015, replacing Mike Petke. Petke was the most successful coach in Red Bulls History.
Key players for the Red Bulls include forward Bradley Wright-Phillips, midfielder Sacha Kljestan, captain Dax McCarty and defender Chris Duvall.
The Red Bulls are coming off of a very successful 2015 season. They won the Eastern Conference with an 18-10-6 record and a second Supporters’ Shield in three years. However, they are still looking for their first MLS Cup, as they had a heartbreaking exit in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals.
For NYCFC, the 2015 season was their inaugural season and it was a very disappointing one. NYCFC’s defense was very shoddy and poor, which was one of the major signs of a team that was in complete disarray and of one that had no clue how to play with each other. NYCFC finished eighth in the Eastern Conference with an overall regular season record of 10-17-7, thus failing to make the playoffs. In order to be more successful this season, NYCFC will need to tighten up its defense, Lampard needs to stay healthy, Villa needs to score at least 20 goals and Mix Diskerud needs to be better.
The Red Bulls kicked off their season on March 6 when they faced off against Toronto FC. They let 80 minutes of dominance go to waste, after allowing two late goals on penalty kick by Sebastian Giovinco and a counterattack finish by Marky Delgado, thus losing 2-0. Meanwhile, NYCFC started their season on the same day against the Chicago Fire in the first of five consecutive matches against them.
NYCFC scored four goals against the Chicago Fire en route to a 4-3 win in their season opener. Then, NYCFC went on to earn a 2-2 tie against Toronto FC and then lose to Orlando City, 1-0. Meanwhile, the Red Bulls went on to lose 3-0 against the Montreal Impact before earning their first win of the season against the Houston Dynamo.
NYCFC is back in action on Saturday when the New England Revolution will travel to Yankee Stadium, while the Red Bulls’ next match is on April 1 against the Revolution at Gillette Stadium in New England.