Cristian Casseres Jr. slammed in a finish from an early free kick, and that's all the New York Red Bulls needed Sunday afternoon to defeat New York City FC 1-0 at Red Bull Arena and draw level on points with their Hudson River Derby rivals.

Casseres' fifth goal of the season and first since early July puts both New York-based clubs on 40 points and 11 wins, one point off the pace in the race for Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs.

NYCFC sit eighth in the Eastern Conference standings via the second tiebreaker with their +11 goal difference to the Red Bulls' +5, but have now gone five matches without a victory and four matches (and 419 minutes) without a goal. RBNY are now unbeaten in seven games (five wins, two draws) to surge up the table.

As in their recent previous contests, the visitors weren't scoreless through a lack of chances.

Carlos Coronel denied Santiago Rodriguez's volley from very close range just before halftime and Maxi Moralez's deflected shot late in the second half.

In between, Malte Admundsen's sensational volley rattled the crossbar in the 82nd minute following RBNY's half-clearance of a corner kick.

Goals

  • 3' - RBNY - Cristian Casseres Jr. | WATCH

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: The Red Bulls complete the season series by taking seven points from nine possible, all in games played since Sept. 22. The results mark the first year NYCFC have failed to produce at least one derby win since their inaugural season, when the Red Bulls won all three 2015 meetings.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: It would be easy to pinpoint Casseres' early goal. But perhaps it was a moment much later in the first half that told NYCFC's recent story, when Rodriguez's effort – which had a 57% chance of resulting in a goal – was denied by Coronel.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: Cristian Casseres Jr. Part of it is for the opportunism of his early goal. Part of it is for being the most consistent offensive threat and release valve after halftime, when he should've picked up an assist on a chance flubbed by Patryk Klimala and could've scored a second on a long-range effort. And part of it is that he did all of it less than 72 hours removed from appearing for Venezuela in a World Cup Qualifying defeat in Chile.

Up Next

  • RBNY: Saturday, Oct. 23 at Columbus Crew | 6 pm ET (MLS LIVE on ESPN+)
  • NYC: Wednesday, Oct. 20 at Atlanta United | 7:30 pm ET (MLS LIVE on ESPN+)