DERBY CLASH

Vancouver Whitecaps FC forward Octavio Rivero, front, beats New York Red Bulls defender Ronald Zubar to the ball during the first half of an MLS soccer match, Saturday, June 20, 2015, in Harrison, N.J.
Associated Press / Julio Cortez

The second edition of the local derby between the New York Red Bulls and New York City FC kicks off on Sunday at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx (5 pm, ESPN2) and adding to the intrigue of this local rivalry is the reversal of fortunes of the MLS teams involved.

Since the first edition in this ‘Hudson River’ rivalry back on Sunday, May 10, when the Red Bulls won, 2-1, at Red Bull Arena in Harrison (NJ) with the support of an eclectic sellout crowd, the teams have gone in opposite directions in the conference standings. The Red Bulls (4-5-5, 17 points) are in the midst of a winless five-game streak, including four straight losses, and dropped from second to seventh in the 10-team MLS Eastern Conference standings; while New York City FC (4-5-7, 17 pts.), enjoying their first run of consecutive wins by capturing maximum points in their last four games, climbed out of the bottom of the standings to occupy eighth place, just behind the Red Bulls and with the same number of points. The Red Bulls have a slight advantage in goals scored (18-17). The teams meet once more this season, on Sunday, Aug. 9, at Red Bull Arena, 7 pm.

The Red Bulls’ last defeat was against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 2-1, last Saturday night at Red Bull Arena. The team battled with only 10 players when midfielder Sacha Kljestan was ejected from the contest in the 10th minute. Adding insult to injury was Bradley Wright-Phillips’ two missed penalty kicks, the first for an MLS player in a game.

The Red Bulls’ midfielder Sal Zizzo was fouled in the penalty area, but Wright-Phillips’s penalty in the fourth minute was saved by Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted; ditto in the 64th minute when Red Bull Anatole Abang was fouled.

Vancouver had a 1-0 halftime lead when Kekuta Manneh scored off a cross in the 15th minute and extended that lead, 2-0, by the 76th on a goal from Kianz Froese. Abang scored the Red Bulls’ goal a minute later. The Bulls were scheduled to host Real Salt Lake on Wednesday, June 24 in a 7:30 kick-off.

In New York City FC’s last outing, David Villa scored twice to give his team a 2-0 road win at Toronto FC. Villa scored from the penalty spot in the eighth minute after a Toronto player was called for a hand ball in the penalty area, and scored again when he intercepted a pass in front of the Toronto goal in the 58th minute and beat goalkeeper Chris Konopka.

NYCFC has been the center of more intrigue just ahead of Sunday’s derby when unknown sources revealed that the team is about to introduce Italian legend, Andrea Pirlo, on Friday, today, as its next major signing.

The 36-year-old Pirlo played for AC Milan in the Italian top league, Series A, for 11 years and for Juventus the past four. He played 115 times for Italy, including playing a major role in the Italians’ 2006 World Cup title victory.

MLS

In other MLS results last weekend, DC United maintained its position atop the Eastern Conference with a 2-1 win over the New England Revolution; Real Salt lake knocked off Sporting Kansas City, 2-1; the Seattle Sounders suffered a rear home loss, 2-0, to the San Jose Earthquakes; the Montreal Impact topped Orlando City FC, 2-0; the Los Angeles Galaxy toppled the Philadelphia Union, 5-1; and the Portland Timbers secured a 2-0 win over the Houston Dynamo.

Caribbean Cup

In the local Caribbean Cup at Jefferson Sports Complex in Flatlands, Brooklyn last Sunday, Team St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Team Dominica played to a 2-2 draw. Team St. Vincent got goals from Renson Haynes and Seinard Bowens, while Dominica tallied through Curtis Baptiste and Kieran Francis. Defending champion Team Jamaica defeated Team Guyana, 1-0, when Irvino English scored. On Sunday at the same venue starting at 1 pm, Team Trinidad and Tobago plays Team Antigua and Barbuda and Team Haiti takes on Team St. Kitts and Nevis.

Women’s World Cup

The Women’s World Cup quarterfinals field is set to kick off this Friday, June 26, when France plays Germany (4 pm) and the USA takes on China (7:30 pm). On Saturday, June 27, it is Australia versus Japan (4 pm) and Canada against England (7:30 pm). All games on the Fox sports Channels.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC goalkeeper David Ousted, center, stops a penalty shot by New York Red Bulls forward Bradley Wright-Phillips (99) as forward Mike Grella (13) and Nicolas Mezquida (9) look on during the first half of an MLS soccer match, Saturday, June 20, 2015, in Harrison, N.J.
Associated Press / Julio Cortez

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