NY Red Bulls vs. NYCFC Prediction, Preview, and Odds - 9/22/21

The Hudson River Derby is set for Wednesday night when the New York Red Bulls take on New York City FC at Yankee Stadium. After sliding down the table the last few weeks, the Red Bulls turned in an impressive performance on Friday with a 4-0 road win over Inter Miami as a +270 underdog to move into 11th place in the East at 7-5-11. NYCFC is putting together a strong campaign at 11-5-8 to rank third in the conference after picking up a 2-1 road win at FC Cincinnati on Saturday to hit as a -138 favorite.

These teams last met in October of 2020, with NYCFC rolling to a 5-2 win at Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls lead the rivalry series 8-6-2 all-time.

Red Bulls turn in best performance of the season to win at Miami

The Red Bulls have struggled of late to slide out of playoff position and looked to be in trouble with a road trip to one of MLS’ hottest teams in Miami last Friday, but instead dominated start to finish for a nice victory. Patryk Klimala got the scoring started in the 18th before Omir Fernandez added another 13 minutes later, and Fabio tallied a brace in the second half after Miami went down to 10 men.

It was a complete domination, with the Red Bulls racking up 27 shots and nine on target, while Miami had just one attempt on goal. Wikelman Carmona, Thomas Edwards, John Tolkin and Kyle Duncan each recorded one assist apiece.

"I think we control the whole 90 minutes, and, in the end, I can see today extreme energy from my team with a high discipline to be clear in our match plan and in the action, I can feel a big confidence and a big trust in each other to win this game away against Miami," head coach Gerhard Struber said to New York’s webiste.

The Red Bulls have been a middling team on both sides of the ball with an average of 1.26 goals and 14.26 shots per match. Opponents have put up 1.22 goals and 10.8 shots per game, with the Red Bulls keeping seven clean sheets this year.

Kimala has been New York’s best attacker with six goals and five assists in 17 starts this season. Fabio is hot on his heels with five goals and a team-high six assists, while 18-year-old star Caden Clark has four goals and two helpers.

Star defender Aaron Long suffered a season-ending Achilles injury way back in May. Goaltender Ryan Meara, who made 13 starts last season, has not played this year as he deals with a groin injury.

NYCFC holds on to move back into the top three

Following a brief slip-up where it winless in the previous three, NYCFC got back on track with a road win at Cincinnati on Saturday night. Cincinnati stunned NYCFC early with a fourth-minute goal, but the visitors equalized in the 37th on Keaton Parks’ header before Valentin Castellanos converted a penalty in the 60th..

NYCFC outshot Cincinnati 13-9 overall and held 57% possession, while any hope for a late equalizer for the hosts was dashed when they went down to nine men late. Gudmundur Thorarinsson was credited with an assist on NYCFC’s first goal, while goaltender Sean Johnson made two saves.

Few rosters in the MLS are more balanced, with NYCFC averaging 1.79 goals and 16.08 shots per game. Opponents are putting up just 1.17 goals and 8.58 shots per goal, with NYCFC keeping eight clean sheets on the season.

Castellanos is in the MLS MVP discussion with 12 goals and seven assists to pace the NYCFC offense. Maximiliano Moralez has dished out a team-high eight assists, while Jesus Medina has scored eight times.

Midfielder Santiago Rodriguez, who made five starts earlier this season, is out with a lower-body injury. Striker Heber remains out while rehabbing a torn ACL.

Side prediction: NYCFC +115

Total: Over 3 (+110)

NYCFC has established itself as an MLS Cup contender, and has enough on both sides of the ball to defeat its struggling rivals at plus odds. With the Red Bulls going a miserable 2-2-8 on the road and NYCFC going unbeaten at home since mid-June, these odds are too valuable to pass up.

Advanced metrics indicate this is the best team in the MLS, as NYCFC leads the league in both expected goals and expected goals allowed. The scoring depth is what separates NYCFC here, as Ismael Tajouri-Shrai also has seven goals to go along with the prolific top two, while the Red Bulls rely too heavily on an inexperienced teenager in Clark.

There are some good things going on both sides of the ball for the Red Bulls and they are better than their record indicates, but have had trouble turning all their possession into dangerous chances, and this NYCFC defense is extremely difficult to break. NYCFC has been the better bet all season as the more well-rounded and deeper team, which will lead to another win here.

The Red Bulls do grade out slightly better offensively than defensively, and have put a lot of pressure on opponents with 1.64 expected goals per game on the road to rank fourth in MLS. Kimala and Clark are two crucial pieces who have both missed some time, and the fully healthy Red Bulls offense showed what it could do last time out by dismantling a Miami defense that has been one of the best in the league lately.

NYCFC can be tough on both sides of the ball, but the offense has some particularly elite stats at home with 2.11 expected goals per game to trail only LAFC in the league. The Red Bulls will be able to avoid the shutout here, and NYCFC will cover the rest in an over.

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Nathaniel Reeves

Nathaniel Reeves is an avid sports fan with degrees in journalism from the University of Washington and statistics from Western Washington University. He's always had a passion for applying statistical analysis to sports betting and has successfully handicapped college football, college basketball, and Esports for years. Nathaniel has endured being a lifelong fan of the Seattle Mariners, along with the Seattle Seahawks, UW Huskies and soon to be Seattle Kraken. He has been a very successful sports bettor the last several years and we are thrilled that Nate has chosen to bring his talents to us here at Winners & Whiners. You would be very wise to follow him daily.

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