HARRISON, N.J. — By the fourth minute, New York City FC already had surrendered two goals as the Hudson River Derby quickly turned into a demolition derby.
City suffered the consequences in an embarrassing 4-0 defeat to the rival Red Bulls before an announced crowd of 25,219 at Red Bull Arena on Saturday afternoon.
NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira called the game “a nightmare.”
Goalkeeper Sean Johnson said it was “humbling.”
“We have no excuses,” midfielder Alex Ring said. “We didn’t bring our heart into the game and bring the energy. We have to be honest with ourselves and take responsibility, look in the mirror. We know the truth. It was a game from us and we deserved to lose.”
NYCFC (6-2-2, 20 points), the Eastern Conference leaders entering the match, came out flat and the Red Bulls (5-3-0, 15), known for their high pressure, took advantage.
Alejandro Romero Gamarra, aka Kaku, slipped home a rebound of Bradley Wright-Phillips’ shot in the second minute. Florian Valot’s attempt ricocheted off City defender Alex Callens into the net for a 2-0 advantage in the fourth minute.
“I’m really frustrated about the competitiveness, about the desire we had on the field,” Vieira said. “You know, I’m prepared to accept that we can lose games, but the way we lost today with the lack of conviction, the lack of competitiveness is something that I can’t accept.”
Very little went right for NYCFC. Wright-Phillips headed home Kaku’d feed in the 35th minute before Derrick Etienne, Jr. finished the onslaught in the 79th minute.
“If I had the chance to change all the 10 players on the field, I will be going to do it at halftime,” Vieira said. “I wasn’t really happy with every single player on the field.”
Captain David Villa, who reached 400 career goals last week, was a non-factor, failing to get off a shot. He was unavailable for comment.
“It was tough for David,” Vieira said. “He didn’t have the support that he normally had. We didn’t play as well as we could from the back. It was more a collective nightmare than just an individual.”