Harrison, NJ (SportsNetwork.com) - New York City FC will venture into New Jersey to tangle with Red Bull New York at Red Bull Arena on Sunday in the inaugural meeting between the two sides.
The Red Bulls sustained their first defeat of the season last time out, losing 2-1 to the New England Revolution to snap their season-opening seven-game unbeaten streak.
NYCFC, meanwhile, has had a rough start to life in MLS, winning just one of their first nine games. The club's 3-1 defeat to Seattle Sounders FC last time out was the third straight setback for Jason Kreis' team, which has now gone seven games without a victory.
But despite the contrasting fortunes of the two sides entering the match, Red Bulls forward Bradley Wright-Phillips is happy to have a natural rival for his team.
"(The rivalry is) needed. I'm so happy they're in this league with us now," Wright-Phillips said of the arrival of NYCFC. "Every great league has great rivalries. Man City-Man United, Liverpool-Everton, all the big cities have those kinds of rivalries. For New York to have one, it's going to be really good. The old enemy, D.C. that's a nice one, we actually have a history with them, but I'm sure this one will be big for years to come."
NYC's struggles certainly won't take away from the importance of the game, and Red Bulls midfielder Dax McCarty believes the team's struggles actually make them more dangerous.
"It's an important game whenever you're playing a game in close proximity as New York City FC is. It's definitely for bragging rights for the whole city, for the whole state, for the whole region," McCarty said. "We feel like it's going to be a huge game. We definitely aren't overlooking it. We know that they've struggled lately and they're not in the best form right now, but that makes them even more dangerous. They're very dangerous coming into Red Bull Arena, but we'll be prepared and be ready for a fight."
The results certainly haven't been there for Kreis and his team this season, but the boss still believes his side is showing improvement week after week despite a lack of points.
"Speaking with a lot of the guys, they're confident with what they're doing and the direction they're headed in, as am I," Kreis said. "We've said all along this is a process and it's going to take some time. It's probably taken a little longer than I expected, but it doesn't change the feelings all of us had coming into this knowing it wouldn't be a perfect situation right out of the gate."