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New York Red Bulls, nine-man NYCFC play to 1-1 Hudson River Derby draw

Aug 22, 2018; New York, NY, USA; New York City FC forward David Villa (7) warms up before a game against the New York Red Bulls at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

BRONX, N.Y. — David Villa canceled out Bradley Wright-Phillips’ first-half goal with a second-half equalizer as the New York Red Bulls and New York City FC played to a spirited 1-1 draw in the third and final regular season chapter of the Hudson River Derby in front of an announced crowd of 30,139 Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.

The teams split the previous two games, each holding serve at home. The result was a positive one for NYCFC, which finished with nine men after Eloi Amagat and Ebenezer Ofori were each shown straight red cards by referee Ted Unkel.

Finally a really good game for us. … Probably we need that,” Villa said. “Sometimes you need a game like that when you are in a bad moment because right now we are in a bad moment, not in the table, but many injuries, red cards, a lot of players out, you need something like that.”

Wright-Phillips opened the scoring for the Red Bulls (15-6-4) in the 37th minute with his 102nd career MLS goal, 200th all-time and 12th in 12 Hudson River Derby matches. The veteran forward latched onto a low Danny Royer cross and put a backward diving header inside the far post.

“From today, I don’t know if there’s a positive,” Wright-Phillips said. “They go down to nine men in the end and they look better than us somehow. I think first half we were good, we controlled the game, we were the better team and then they go down two men and it all changes. I don’t get it. It wasn’t good enough.”

Three minutes later, Amagat’s MLS debut was cut short as the veteran Spanish midfielder was given a straight red card for a high challenge on Marc Rzatkowski.

After hitting the post late in the first half, Villa equalized on the other side of halftime for NYCFC (14-6-6) with his 10th goal of the season. Jo Inge Berget, who replaced Ismael Tajouri-Shradi at halftime in a switched 4-3-2 formation, laid off a Maxi Moralez lofted service to Villa. The NYCFC captain settled the ball with his right foot before hammering a shot past Luis Robles with his left in the 52nd minute.

Berget’s evening ended moments later, when he was replaced by Rodney Wallace due to injury in the 56th minute.

Villa nearly had his second in the 67th minute, but Robles did well to range to his right to get a hand on the attempt.

Five minutes later, NYCFC was reduced to nine men when Ofori was shown a straight red card following Video Review for a stomp on Wright-Phillips Achilles.

But NYCFC finished the match strong, continuing to push and claw for a decisive goal despite playing with two fewer players. 

“Definitely proud of the effort,” NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson said. “What’s kind of crazy and what symbolizes our team is that even down two men, I think every guy on the pitch was still pushing for a winner. In a game like that, we understood what it meant and everybody was just hungry to win.”

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