New York derby: Beginning of a new era in MLS

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First thing's first, if you have a phobia of the city New York for some strange reason, I wouldn't read this article if I were you. However, if you're blessed enough to not have, you have the pleasure of finding out all about the first ever New York derby in Major League Soccer.

Where would football be without its great rivalries. The Manchester derby, the Madrid face-off and the Galatasaray/Fenerbahce battle, as it may seem. Now, we have a new addition to the derby book. New York City FC and New York Red Bulls will go head to head for the first time in MLS history on Sunday night.

The closest to a derby in America's equivalent to the Premier League is the Portland v Seattle clash which saw the Sounders take a 1-0 win a fortnight ago after the Los Angeles rivalry between LA Galaxy and Chivas was killed off when The Goats left the league at the end of the 2014 campaign, so it's good to have some fresh rivalry in the league.

Manchester City's franchise club will inevitably take a large away following to the Red Bull Arena and will certainly be in good voice after it was revealed in mid-week that supporters had been rather embarrassingly provided with song sheets, listing chant after chant.

Who to look out for

Anyway, that's enough of mocking the fans, let's get onto the game itself which is available for us to watch here in the UK on Sky Sports at midnight on Monday morning, following their debut season of broadcasting the MLS.

David Villa should be a definite candidate to get on the scoresheet. Goalscoring hasn't exactly fallen to the veteran's feet during his debut season in America, and has only found the net twice - one of which came in NYCFC's opening home game at the Yankee Stadium back in March.

The Spaniard's opposite number is having a slightly better season thus far, however. Former Premier League star, Bradley Wright-Phillips has scored three times so far for the Red Bulls and has certainly been on the ball in each of his seven appearances in 2015.

Sacha Kljestan certainly made the right decision to move from Anderlecht to New York Red Bulls in the winter. His two goals this season have helped him settle into life back in the MLS rather quickly. The American is a very astute midfielder who knows what he is doing, so keep your eyes peeled for him.

Mehdi Ballouchy may have only scored twice for New York City FC, but if the quality of goals would increase your scoring tally, the Moroccan would definitely be up there at the top of the league's top scorers. When it comes down to beating the goalkeeper, Ballouchy certainly has a graceful but deadly way of doing it.

The verdict

It goes without saying that New York City aren't enduring the best possible start to life in the Major League. Their only win of the season came against New England Revolution, and they should be glad that they caught the Revs at the right time, because they've been in unstoppable form of late. They should also be thankful for a handful of fortunate draws picked up along the way. Without them, they could be further down the standings in the Eastern Conference.

Comparatively, the Red Bulls have literally jolted into action for the 2015 campaign. They have really shocked the pundits who said they would struggle after the departures of Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill, because Jesse Marsch's side went unbeaten until last week's shock defeat to New England.

Both teams will we wanting to get back onto winning ways, and their recent form should cook up a very tasty recipe for all to watch.

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Bradley Wright-Phillips

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