NYCFC, an expansion club in Major League Soccer, has been billed as the only team playing in the five boroughs. The Red Bulls, who play in nearby Harrison, N.J., made their own claim to local primacy by netting a flood of second-half goals to earn a 3-1 win in front of an announced crowd of 48,047.
"Any time you play at home, it's an opportunity for us to impress the fans and win new fans over ... to pay back the fans that have been to every game," said NYCFC coach Jason Kreis of hosting the Red Bulls for the first time. "For me, this was certainly an opportunity lost on all three counts."
Early on, it looked like the home team would rule the day.
Six minutes into the game, NYCFC's Mix Diskerud crossed the ball into the box and Mehdi Ballouchy headed it on to Thomas McNamara, who chested it down and buried it in the corner of the net.
NYCFC's fan club, The Third Rail, stood in the left-field bleachers and kept the stadium rocking with drum beats and constant chanting. Likewise, the red-clad Red Bull fans ringed the upper concourse and stood for most of the game, dueling the home fans with their own cheers and chants.
"Absolutely remarkable. Unbelievable," said Kreis of the boisterous Yankee Stadium crowd. "All of us as participants in this type of match and participants in this league right now need to be incredibly thankful of the fans that continue to come out here and support us so loud and so proudly."
One of the biggest crowd reactions of the day came midway through the first half, when two soccer legends -- England's Frank Lampard and Italy's Andrea Pirlo -- were shown on the scoreboard. Both players are expected to join NYCFC next month during the league's next transfer window.
The Red Bulls came out steaming after halftime, scoring the tying and the go-ahead goal within the first six minutes of the second half. Bradley Wright-Phillips volleyed home the tying goal two minutes into the half, and a few minutes later, Chris Duvall sent a shot into the upper right corner of the net.
The stadium, which heard consistent home chants of "New York City" in the first half, was soon filled by a mocking chorus of "Why so quiet?" from the Red Bull fans. Matt Miazga headed home the Red Bulls' third goal in the 73rd minute, spurring late cries of "Beat the Traffic" from the upper deck.
"It was awesome," said Jesse Marsch, coach of the Red Bulls. "I thought our fans' imprint on this game and the way they showed up and cheered, we couldn't have asked for more."