MFL_6652-2

A wild ending to a wild match was a fitting conclusion for the first New York Derby of 2021.

Patryk Klimala leveled the match with the latest regular season goal in MLS history, converting from the penalty spot in the 102nd minute.

New York Red Bulls and New York City finished 1-1 following eight yellow cards, two red cards and a goal for each side.

"We deserve this point," Struber said. "I am 100 percent convinced -- also the stats now, they confirm it. It's a tough opponent, but I think we can see it's close and we have one more chance on the weekend that we realize a win."

The Red Bulls went down in the first half, allowing Taty Castellanos to slip a shot past Carlos Coronel.

But following a red card for a hard tackle on Dru Yearwood, who was forced to leave the match after entering at halftime, and a handball in the box (thanks to VAR), a second yellow was issued and NYCFC had to finish the match with nine men. Klimala stepped up to the spot after the lengthy stoppage time and VAR check, to put home the equalizer at the death.

"He is a killer on the point and he show us he is ready to score, and also for his confidence, a very good moment," Struber said of his forward.

Klimala has now scored in three straight matches, and even assisted in the previous one to the scoring streak.

"For him this was a completely new world, and right now we can see he is more in our world," Struber said of Klimala. "He has a better connection with the other attacking players and I think he make big steps. Right now, he is the player what we want on the field and we can see this, and he, hopefully, in the next weeks, [is] very, very successful with goals."

John Tolkin said the battle back to earn the draw shows how tight-knit and hungry this young squad is.

"I think it shows the character of the guys and I think it shows that we still have that goal in our mind, which is playoffs," Tolkin said. "We are going to do everything we can to get there."

Advertising

The Red Bulls made a few tactical changes throughout the match, looking to exploit weaknesses on the pitch.

"We have something to change. I think this is necessary," Struber said. "This is clear. I think we need better staggering from the first second and we need more explosion from the center."

The Red Bulls and NYCFC battle again in the second part of a Double Derby Week, heading to Yankee Stadium on Saturday night.

"I think, today, we have some good moments," Struber said. "But I think we can do better and we have to make better on Saturday, especially moments, also, when they come in transitions. We know we have many, many things to improve to find more control in the game and to create more chances against an opponent like New York City FC. Right now, [it's] a process, and many things are going in the right way."

With the final stretch of games upon the Red Bulls, the team knows results are necessary from here on out.

"Our standard, our level is high, and especially what I expect from every game and from every single player," Strube said. "We will keep going and work for Saturday, and hopefully -- and I have a big conviction that we are ready, on Saturday, for a win."

With his first New York Derby now under his belt, Tolkin said the rivalry was everything he expected.

"Thankfully, we were able to get a point out of this because I think the guys, with the resiliency they showed, deserved this," Tolkin said. "It was everything I could have expected, to be honest."

Advertising

Advertising