New York City FC face rivals New York Red Bulls on Sunday, in a derby that sees two of MLS’ top teams take each other on.

NYCFC sit second in the Eastern Conference, two points above the third-placed Red Bulls.

The Red Bulls have won the last two derbies, and are unbeaten against their rivals since a 5-2 defeat in November 2020.

But NYCFC interim boss Nick Cushing is eager to amend that recent record this time around.

“Every time I’ve been to Red Bull Arena we’ve had that group that they put right up in the sky that is really loud,” Cushing said. “They’ve traveled to Red Bull Arena, and they’re loud in Yankee Stadium. In whatever stadium we play we have that group of fans and we really rely on them, especially in the difficult moments, to push us over the line.

“For us, we want to put a performance in for them because we’ve been to Red Bull Arena and had some disappointing results in the past and for us to really put a performance in and to give everything for NYCFC and for them, I think is a real motivator this time around.”

Red Bulls coach Gerhard Struber said: “It’s always a big rivalry. We have to create a very good game, in our principles and our basics.

“We know how successfully New York City can play, we have the big memory that they won the MLS Cup last season. They have a lot of quality individuals with outstanding abilities to create good moments. We have to give some players absolutely no space or time to create something. We have normally have more fun than them in the last four games against them, so this is the big goal. We have to bring aggression, high intensity.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

New York Red Bulls – Lewis Morgan

Lewis Morgan has scored in his last four home MLS matches. A goal against NYCFC would make him the fifth Red Bulls player to score in five straight home games and only the second since 2010 after Bradley Wright-Phillips (three times).

New York City FC – Valentin Castellanos

Beginning with a two-goal showing against D.C. United last October, Valentin Castellanos has scored 21 goals in his last 22 MLS appearances (incl. playoffs). Castellanos is just the seventh player since 2004 to score at least 21 times in a span of 22 MLS games.

KEY OPTA FACTS

– The Red Bulls have kept clean sheets in their last two league meetings with NYCFC, winning both matches, 1-0. The Timbers, from 2017-19, are the only team to keep clean sheets in three straight MLS meetings with NYCFC.

– The Red Bulls have won three straight home matches after starting the season winless in their first six at home (D4 L2).

– The Red Bulls have scored multiple goals in four straight home matches (11 total goals) after failing to score more than once in their previous 15 at home (10 total goals) dating back to August.

– NYCFC picked up its ninth win in its last 14 matches (D4 L1) with a 1-0 victory against FC Dallas on Wednesday.

– NYCFC’s 31 points since mid-April, beginning after their elimination from the CONCACAF Champions League, are the most in MLS in that time.