The Hudson River Derby returns! Sunday evening, over 48,000 fans packed into Yankee Stadium to watch the second chapter in the budding rivalry between the New York Red Bulls and NYCFC. Despite NYCFC's recent run of good form, NYC stayed red, with RBNY stunning the home side with a three goal second half to secure a 3-1 victory.

The last time the two MLS sides met, they were on opposite trajectories - the Red Bulls had lost only one of their first nine, while City were mired in a seven-game winless stretch. Despite that match going to the team in Harrison, the narrative had since flipped, with the Bronx Blues riding a three game win streak that had ESPN analyst Taylor Twellman calling them "the hottest team in MLS", while Metro suffered a mirror four game losing streak that they only snapped this past Wednesday against Real Salt Lake. NYCFC even took a symbolic victory in winning a social media hashtag battle that resulted in the Empire State Building being lit up blue on Saturday night:

For the first 15 minutes, that reversal in fortunes seemed to be alive and well. Tommy McNamara set off a loud home crowd, chesting down the ball in the box and firing a far post shot in the sixth minute to give the Blues a 1-0 lead. It was the earliest goal in NYCFC’s short history.

NYCFC came close to building their lead further in the frantic opening stages, buzzing around the outfield goal. The energy of the home fans reached a fever pitch when Frank Lampard (remember him?) was shown on the jumbotron with Andrea Pirlo, who is widely expected to sign with NYCFC later this week. The home fans chanted “WE WANT PIRLO”, and while we know correlation isn’t causation, it was around that time momentum started to shift. (City was also not helped by Chris Wingert being forced off with an injury.)

The Red Bulls started to build momentum, and just minutes into the second half, their attack was rewarded as Sacha Kljestan’s cross found Bradley Wright-Philips in the box for a one-time volley. It was BWP’s first goal since the last time the two sides had played, and first since he’s gotten married, which means we regrettably must drop the “he hasn’t scored since he tied the knot” joke anymore. Five minutes later, Anatole Abang headed a ball down to Chris Duvall, who drove home his first career MLS goal and effectively blacked out celebrating. “It was a great feeling, kind of surreal. I just kind of followed the play. I assumed Abang would win the header, because he’s so good in the air, and it just fell to my foot. The rest, I just kind of don’t even remember. It was really loud in the stadium."

The game continued to slip away from City, who could barely get an attack going in the second half. Even the addition of Kwadwo Poku wasn’t able to swing NYCFC’s fortunes at he had so often done in past games. The Red Bulls tacked on an insurance goal when defender Matt Mizaga - who had been shutting down superstar David Villa all game - rose to find a corner kick and squeezed a header into the net. Miazga celebrated the goal by knocking an invisible home run into the stands where the collected Red Bulls supporters were celebrating:

The end game got surreal, as Red Bulls supporters chanted “BEAT THE TRAFFIC!” while fans clad in blue in the lower levels did just that. Goalkeeper Luis Robles, who didn’t have much to do in the second half, turned around during stoppage time and energetically pumped his arms at the upper deck, demanding more noise. “It was emotion,” Robles explained after the match. "There was a lot of tension in the preparation this week, because we understood there was a lot on the line….what you saw at the end of was just a release of that stress."

After the match, NYCFC coach Jason Kreis was at a loss to justify his side’s performance. He lamented the lack of effort (“we didn’t get a real honest effort out of our players”) and pointed at complacency (“the players started to feel like they had made it a little bit”). But then he also acknowledged that the team looked gassed and suggested it was “the first probably really warm and humid match we played in”. If a cloudy, 74° day constitutes “really warm and humid”, it’s hard not to wonder what August will bring.

RBNY coach Jesse Marsch was understandably pleased, and gave credit to the traveling supporters for helping to drive the team. “When I stepped out before the game, even before warmup, and they were already there. There was a huge sea of red and white, and they were already chanting and signing. For me, it was awesome. I thought our fans’ imprint on this game, and the way that they showed up and cheered, we couldn’t have asked for more. I hope they’re proud of our team, they should be, the way they came back in that game…it was a great atmosphere, it made for an incredible game."

Bradley Wright-Phillips, on the other hand, seemed less impressed with the whole Bronx experience: "I prefer Red Bull Arena. [Yankee Stadium] was OK. I could imagine it being good for a baseball game."

The Red Bulls will have a chance to sweep the other teams in the market in a week, as they face the New York Cosmos in the fifth round of the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday at Red Bull Arena. NYCFC travel to Montreal on Saturday.