A PERFECT SWEEP: RED BULLS 2, NYCFC 0

It was either a referendum of systems of building professional soccer teams, or just a cross-town beatdown. No matter your perspective, the New York Red Bulls were the victors for the third (and quite likely final) meeting of the year with NYCFC, knocking off the Blues 2-0 in front of a sold out crowd of 25,219. Bradley Wright-Phillips and Felipe had the goals.

Tensions were high long before the match, boiling over into a stirring street theatre re-enactment of Green Street Hooligans. The production, in front of a Newark bar that hosts one of the Red Bulls' supporters group, was captured by the Associated Press' Rob Harris:

Luckily, the match was not determined by who could swing a trash bag the best. Instead, it would be seen as a test for the systems for both teams. For the Red Bulls, could their high-pressure, youth-centric system that lacked individual stars bring continued success? And for NYCFC, would having all three of their high-priced designated players - Lampard, Pirlo, and Villa - start for the first time this season lead to success?

After a frantic opening twenty minutes, the Red Bulls would get on the board first, with Bradley Wright-Phillips finding his fourth goal against City. A great cross in from Kemar Lawrence couldn't be cleared by Jefferson Mena, falling right to BWP's feet for an easy opener.

Comedy was in the cards not long after, as David Villa grabbed a handful of Felipe Martins' shorts and pulled, ripping them and forcing him off the field to fix a pretty major wardrobe malfunction.

But Martins - who had taken a fairly high degree of crap from Red Bulls fans for not contributing on the score sheet lately - would have the last laugh. After Mike Grella nutmegged Frank Lampard, Felipe collected a pass, took a few steps into the box, and took a rather meek shot. Incredibly it fooled goalkeeper Josh Saunders, tacking on the insurance goal.

The Red Bulls showed no fear against the likes of Lampard and Pirlo, never mind their continued stymying of Villa - but head coach Jesse Marsch said that wasn't on him: "I can't take credit for that. We have a fearless team. That was a personal challenge, I think, for those guys. I think our guys wanted to prove a point and go in there and play against world-class players, show they're up for the task. The way we play and how we play and who we are is still going to make us successful."

Jason Kreis, on the other hand, tried to channel his disappointment in taking a third straight rivalry loss. "Very frustrated with the third loss to any opponent. This is become a pretty heated rivalry very quickly and so we were really up for this game and I really thought we would have a better result...we were very prepared for this match and all of our players knew what the Red Bulls are about."

The Red Bulls sit comfortably in second place in the Eastern Conference with 36 points on 22 games; they face a super-powered Toronto FC at home next weekend. NYCFC remain in 8th place, and will host East-leading DC United on Thursday night at home.