The Power of the East River DerbyNew York City FC supporters continue to inspire and deliver passion in a way never before seen in New York soccer
by Nick Chavez | Friday, June 19, 2015
Editor's note: This article was edited after publishing due to unverifiable information.
Well, that was something, wasn’t it?
When I walked into Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, New York night, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. It was my first time watching both a New York Cosmos and US Open Cup match in person, but I suspected it would be a packed, fiery affair.
Although it took a little while for the stadium to fill up, my instincts were proven correct. The New York City supporter section was a sea of passion ready for battle, boiling over the brim with vitriol whenever Cosmos players came by the section for throw-ins or corners, and likewise offering aggressive support for their Celestes from the big City.
Closer to the field than at Yankee Stadium, it was a treat for NYCFC supporters, who numbered over 1,000, to be right on top of the action for once, and served as taste of what to expect from this ever-growing, rabid contingent when they finally have their own home stadium built in the 5 boroughs.
New York City FC Supporters watching anxiously during a dramatic
penalty shootout (Image, Cathy Lojo for Soccer Newsday)
It was extremely important for the Cosmos to draw first blood in this East River Derby since it's unlikely that the Cosmos will become the biggest and most popular club in the New York City area like back in the 1970’s (NYCFC and RBNY have resources that the Cosmos, simply, don't). But this win (dramatically coming back from 2 goals down to win on penalties), and last-years’ victory over an indifferent Red Bulls side, allows them to celebrate and make their case as the best in New York.
At the moment, NYCFC is a struggling expansion side, missing all of its Designated Players (and quality players like Shelton, Iraola, Angelino and George John) for this match and still working on developing the right chemistry to start to reach its full potential.
They also just played last Saturday night, all the while having a wary eye on trip to one of MLS’s most talented sides, Toronto FC. With NYCFC having to play on the poor turf surface at Hofstra, it was clear that New York City was disadvantaged, clearly not at full-strength, and nowhere near the “finished product” of what the MLS expansion side promises to be.
Thankfully for both sides, this East River Derby was a beautifully passionate match. It must’ve been something out of a dream for those long-time fans of the local game who simply never thought they’d see the day where 2 professional soccer sides in the New York area would clash with such drama and passion riding on it, reminiscent of the first-ever Hudson River Derby v. the New York Red Bulls. Especially in the U.S. Open Cup.
NYCFC and US Men’s National Team star Mix Diskerud steps up to bury his penalty shot vs. the New York Cosmos (Image, Cathy Lojo for Soccer Newsday)
The first-ever Hudson River and East River Derbies are testament to what New York City rivalry can be. This derby injects life and relevance into this New York soccer culture.