New York City earned an important win for their season on Sunday, defeating local rivals New York RB to claim the Hudson River Derby on Sunday.
With City and NYRB second and third respectively in the Eastern Conference coming into Sunday’s match, the stakes were higher than usual and it reflected in the fine margins the game was played within.
It was fitting the winning goal also reflected that, with NYRB defender Sean Nealis caught square for just a fraction of a second in the 69th minute, as the game grew increasingly tense.
That lapse was enough for Santiago Rodriguez to perfectly weigh a pass over his head for Valentin Castellanos, who ran onto it off his blind side, before finishing first-time past the approaching Carlos Coronel for his MLS-leading 13th goal of the season.
City restored their one-point deficit to the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia Union with the win, while opening up a critical five-point gap to NYRB in third.
Sheesh @TatyCaste11anos pic.twitter.com/hMtsxuC9hN
— New York City Football Club (@NYCFC) July 17, 2022
Elsewhere in the East, Atlanta United and Orlando City could only manage a 1-1 draw, while Columbus Crew took full advantage, moving to sixth win a 2-0 win over FC Cincinnati.
Meanwhile in the Western Conference, Giorgio Chiellini and Gareth Bale made their debuts for Los Angeles FC as they reclaimed top spot with a 2-1 win over Nashville SC.
Chiellini started while Bale came off the bench but by then, LAFC had already reclaimed the lead via Jose Cifuentes, after Hany Mukhtar cancelled out Cristian Arango’s opening goal.
NEW NUMBER. SAME CIFU. #NSHvLAFC 1-2 pic.twitter.com/dEFxD8ux0f
— LAFC (@LAFC) July 18, 2022
Real Salt Lake took full advantage, moving back into third in the West with a 3-0 win over Sporting KC, while Houston Dynamo claimed a 2-1 victory over the SJ Earthquakes.
In Sunday’s final game, the traditional rivals from the NASL and USL in the Vancouver Whitecaps and Portland Timbers played out a 1-1 draw.