NYCFC set to battle Red Bulls in Hudson River Derby

Derby Day awaits for New York City Football Club, as Nick Cushing's side face Red Bulls at Yankee Stadium on Saturday.

Here are the Keys to the Match, presented by Ford...

Winning Feeling

They say that form flies out of the window on Derby Day: that previous results bear no influence on how the game will pan out, such is the competitive nature of the contest.

With both sides fired up for the added incentive of conquering your local rivals, quite simply anything can happen, ensuring the Hudson River Derby is always one of the most exciting and hotly-anticipated fixtures in the MLS calendar.

While Red Bulls head into the game on the back of a more positive run of results in the playoff push, City's Campeones Cup win in midweek will have yielded a major psychological boost for Nick Cushing's side.

The Boys in Blue rekindled that winning mentality and once again savored the taste of lifting silverware: an addictive feeling that will only serve to spur the team on in our quest for further success.

Ending a difficult streak in such celebrated fashion can essentially mark a new chapter for the squad, and renew much-needed confidence and belief in their own ability - as individuals and as a collective.

That sense of renewed optimism, desire and hunger are the perfect traits to take into Derby Day.

Fighting Talk

Our rivals may hold the edge on overall encounters but it is City who boast the bragging rights in the build-up to this clash, having beaten the Red Bulls on their own patch in July's match-up.

The MLS Cup Champions clinched our first away win at Red Bull Arena in five years in the 20th MLS meeting of the two sides, thanks to Taty Castellano's second-half strike.

It was a narrow but deserved victory for the Boys in Blue, who dominated 64.9% of possession, crafted more shots (19-14) and controlled the play with more passes (487-246).

There is no doubt the result will have hurt the hosts, who have added fuel to this fire with head coach Gerhard Struber, who was in attendance at the Campeones Cup Final, suggesting his side are guaranteed a victory at Yankee Stadium.

"I wish soccer was so simple!" Cushing laughed when asked of his thoughts. "He's obviously confident but listen, I expect it.

"I expect it because it was arguably the best ever performance of an NYCFC team against a Red Bulls team in their last defeat.

"When you lose Derbies, it's hard. I think for him when he lost the way that he lost, they will have incredible motivation to make sure we don't play the football we played in their home, and win the way we won.

"The Red Bulls game will be incredibly difficult. Both teams are pushing for position. We obviously haven't had many wins in MLS, and I also think our performance at Red Bull Arena earlier in the season will hugely motivate them."

Home Comforts

As was the case on Wednesday night, Cushing and co. will be hoping that home advantage can play a major role this weekend.

City have a strong record at Yankee Stadium, thriving on the energy of our fervent and unwaveringly loyal fans and the familiarity of the surroundings, while opposition teams often struggle to adapt.

The Boys in Blue are unbeaten in all bar seven of our 81 games at the stadium, with one defeat in our last 15, and hold fond memories of the ground: emphatic wins, dramatic late comebacks, high-scoring thrillers and now a Cup Final success.

With Derby Day, there is more than just three points at stake: it's all about pride. There's no fixture quite like it - it's the first one you look for when the calendar is released, the reason friends and family feud and the reason you may or may not turn in to the office on Monday morning!

And neither the players or supporters will need any extra motivation to rouse themselves for the occasion.

By pulling together once again with a sea of sky blue, an electric atmosphere and another fine performance, this could prove to be a very memorable week for the Club.