HARRISON, N.J. — New York City FC has lived dangerously the last few matches, seeing red cards three of the last four times out.
On Wednesday, another two red cards made it four games in five outings with a man disadvantage for NYCFC, and the lack of discipline proved costly against the Red Bulls in the first Hudson River Derby match of 2021.
Already playing a man-down, NYCFC gave up a penalty in the 97th minute on a handball by Maxime Chanot, who was sent off for his second yellow following the video review. Red Bulls striker Patryk Klimala finished strong to even the match at 1 in the 100th minute and split the points at Red Bull Arena.
Valentín Castellanos netted the only goal for NYCFC, putting his side ahead in the 31st minute by capitalizing on a mistake by the Red Bulls. City nearly survived a straight red card by Keaton Parks for a sliding challenge in the 73rd minute, but with eight minutes of stoppage time, the Red Bulls continued to attack, eventually being rewarded with the penalty chance.
NYCFC coach Ronny Delia largely was pleased with his team's performance, including how it responded to Parks' absence. He was not, however, fond of either of the pivotal calls by referee Ismail Elfath.
"Let me not say so much about these things, but I disagree on the [red] card, and I disagree on the hands, that’s the two things," Deila said. "It hits his shoulder, up in his arm. If it hits his hand low, OK, we can discuss it, or if it’s half a yard from goal. But it’s not a goal chance, it’s just a shot from 16 or 17 yards on a second ball. No players react, everybody is calm, the New York Red Bulls players are calm, nobody reacts. If that was a clear handball, you’d see them going crazy, the Red Bull players, then you’d go back and correct the situation. That’s my opinion."
Castellanos’ goal was his 13th of the season, adding to his team lead and giving him seven goals in his last seven outings. He put NYCFC ahead following a failed switch of play by Red Bulls defender John Tolkin. After the left back scuffed his ball to the right side, Parks was able to play it to Maxi Moralez, who laid the ball to Castellanos on the left. The striker buried his first touch with ease to give NYCFC its only score.
NYCFC (11-6-8, 39 points) was unable to keep pace in the standings with Nashville SC, who beat Inter Miami on Wednesday, and now sits five points from second place in the Eastern Conference. The Red Bulls (7-6-11, 26 points) salvaged a point in their quest to keep their decade-long postseason streak alive, remaining in 11th place. The teams will have a chance to settle things quickly, meeting once again on Saturday at Yankee Stadium.