The New York City Football Club may still be ahead of the New York Red Bulls in the standings, but when it comes to Gotham supremacy, the city is still painted red. 

Such is the plight of NYCFC following a shocking 7-0 drubbing at the hands of the Red Bulls, last Sunday in Yankee Stadium. The Blue was once again beaten by its cross-river rival, as they have yet to beat the Harrison, New Jersey-based franchise in four career matchups. 

It was the most lopsided beating in the series’ two-year history and equaling the largest margin of victory in Major League Soccer history. The Red Bulls’ win equaled the Los Angeles Galaxy 8-1 beating of the Dallas Burn back in 1998 and a 7-0 thrashing by the Chicago Fire over the Kansas City Wizards in 2001.

The loss dropped City to second in the Eastern Conference standings, behind the Philadelphia Union, who at 18 points, are one point ahead. The victory propelled the Red Bulls from eighth to third at 16 points. 

Blue’s loss wasn’t a shock in terms of the Red Bulls getting the best of them – because that’s happened every time so far. But it was how they were defeated. City, an affiliate of English Premier League power Manchester City, has made it known how heavily invested its European big brother is in them. And with several veteran European superstars like David Villa, Andrea Pirlo, and Frank Lampard on its roster, it’s been disheartening for the ardent fanbase to see its beloved squad so manhandled. 

And especially when the size of the contracts of some of its stars is considered, it’s no wonder why City manager Patrick Vieira deemed the loss as a “disaster.”    

Villa, Pirlo, and Lampard are among the top-10 highest paid players in the league, so for them to earn their respective keep, they’ll need to step up their performances and help the squad quickly recover from its last shellacking. 

They’ll have a few days to gain much-needed restoration, something Vieira alluded to when he noted that the recent grueling schedule may have taken a toll on his squad. City had an away game the previous Sunday in Portland, followed by a mid-week affair in Toronto, which was wrapped up by the Red Bulls game. The team will welcome a break in the action and hopefully “bounce back,” as the manager claims.

“The message I want to send to the players is don’t forget what you’ve been doing,” Vieira urged. “It will be really difficult … but we have to face our responsibility and analyze the game and see which part of the game we have to improve.” 

With the second-worst goals differential (minus-six) in the conference, City will no doubt be anxious to get back on the pitch and get that nasty Red Bull taste out of their mouths. And that next chance will be Sunday, May 29, at home, against OrlandoCity.