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New York Red Bulls top New York City FC

New York Red Bulls celebrate a first half

New York Red Bulls celebrate a first half goal by midfielder Sacha Kljestan (16) in an MLS game against the New York City FC at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey on Sunday, July 24, 2016. Credit: Steven Ryan

HARRISON, N.J. — The Hudson River Derby is all but six games old, but the nascent rivalry already escalated into a full-blown feud between the coaches.

New York City FC head coach Patrick Vieira vehemently complained that his Red Bulls counterpart, Jesse Marsch, made comments about officiating earlier this week that influenced the decisions of referee Mark Geiger in the hosts’ comprehensive 4-1 victory Sunday at Red Bull Arena.

On Wednesday, Marsch, claiming that calls had gone against his side this season, said he hoped his team would be assigned a referee who understands how to officiate the game this weekend. Marsch was fined an undisclosed amount by MLS.

Geiger dished out eight yellow cards, seven on City, and red carded defender Ethan White and sent off Vieira from the sidelines in the 34th minute.

“The comment from Jesse during the week had a massive impact on the referees,” Vieira said. “And of course, that had an impact on the way we played. But you take in doubt the credibility of the referee, it happened the referee sometimes makes the wrong decision. Today he made more decisions in favor of the Red Bulls because the manager had been crying all the week. At the end he got what he wanted.”

When Vieira was asked to leave the field during a water break after stepping outside of the coaching box, the coaches exchanged some words.

“The conversation to [Marsch] was just to stop crying and stop complaining,” Vieira said. “His team was playing well, playing really good. I feel sorry for him.”

Marsch, whose team won the season series 2-1, said Vieira did not want to shake his hand in the tunnel underneath the stadium.

“He never said anything to me,” he said. “I’ve seen this from him after the game before. So it’s not a problem.”

The way the Red Bulls played, they didn’t need anyone’s help as they rolled to a 3-1 halftime advantage. Bradley Wright-Phillips scored twice. Sacha Kljestan set up two goals and converted a penalty kick, and Ronald Zubar headed in a corner kick. Tommy McNamara’s 30-yard shot was City’s lone score.

Frank Lampard said City played “below par.”

“We were off the mark slightly,” he said. “We didn’t defend well enough as a group, from front to back, which meant we were chasing a bit too much. When we had the ball, we weren’t as effective as we had been in recent weeks.”

City (9-7-6, 33 points) remained atop the Eastern Conference while the Red Bulls (9-9-4, 31) jumped from fourth to second place.

“Of course we want to win the derbies, but we are here for winning the league, not for winning the derbies,” City captain David Villa said.

New York Sports