The whirlwind week for the New York Red Bulls and Head Coach Troy Lesesne could not have gone to plan any better.
Lesesne was named Head Coach of the club on Monday morning, with a quick turnaround to a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match on Tuesday against the club’s oldest rival. A 1-0 victory over DCU led into a New York Derby matchup in MLS play. Another 1-0 victory in MLS play, off the foot of Omir Fernandez, showed that New York is indeed red.
All of it, though, has been a lot.
“It's been a lot this week, and it will be a lot going forward,” Lesesne said. “But that's what you hope for. Whenever you get an opportunity like this, you want to obviously make the most of it. I'm at a great club and I've been given an opportunity that I want to try and maximize.”
On Saturday night, Omir Fernandez scored in the 76th minute with a shot from right outside the box after capitalizing on a New York City FC turnover. Fernandez scored his second MLS goal of the season, the third across all competitions. The goal was Fernandez’ 11th of his career, the third against NYCFC across all competitions. Fernandez also scored the game-winner vs. D.C.
“It means a lot,” Fernandez said. “Every time we go into these games, I try to score whether I start the game or come off the bench. It means a lot to me honestly, I talk about these games with my family and friends all the time so to get a goal and be the difference today was really great.”
Lesesne knows that these matches mean a little more -- and if was getting through a trial by fire.
“When you play in a Derby like this, you get a real sense of what it means to this club even more,” Lesesne said. “I want to try to maximize every single group that we have in our club and bring it all together.”
New York now has 86 shutouts at Red Bull Arena since 2010, the most in MLS. New York is tied for first for the most points at home in MLS since 2010 with 433.
Carlos Coronel notched the 23rd clean sheet of his career with New York and his 30th win as a Red Bull.
“With rivalry matches, anything can happen,” Coronel said. “Today we did well, defensively we did well.”
New Jersey’s Peter Stroud has this rivalry embedded into his Red Bull DNA.
POST-MATCH PRESS CONFERENCE: Troy Lesesne | 05/13/23
“It was obviously an awesome ending to a pretty, pretty memorable night,” Stroud said. “I grew up around here so I kind of had a taste of this. I was pretty young when NYCFC started coming around, so I've always kind of had a thing against them. They've always been competing with us, stealing players from us at young ages. Felt good to get there and help the team get a win. Three points in the right direction, obviously, trying to rebuild ourselves back into the table and this is just the start.”
As Lesesne continues to build with the team, the spirits are picking up.
“When you get that win on Tuesday, it picks up the spirits, and then, obviously, this win today picks up the spirits even more,” Stroud said. “Hopefully we can go again on Wednesday and pick the spirits up even more and keep going.”