Video: New York hit by football hooliganism as Red Bulls destroy Frank Lampard and Co.
Football violence erupted in New York ahead of a clash two fierce local rivals.
Fans of New York Red Bulls and New York City FC fought and hurled missiles at each other as police moved in to keep order at the stadium NYCFC shares with the New York Yankees baseball team.
According to some witnesses smoke bombs were also thrown as the fans gathered for the so-called 'Hudson River derby' which the Red Bulls went on to win 0-7.
In a match he and his team-mates would like to forget, Frank Lampard made his much-awaited 2016 debut for NYCFC as a substitute, after missing his team's first 12 games with a calf injury. He was roundly booed by fans.
It was revealed earlier this week that the former Chelsea midfielder earns $6m (£4.1m) - more than the entire Red Bulls squad.
The match had been delayed by 30 minutes because the FA Cup final 3,500 miles away had gone into extra time.
The violence is the latest in a series of incidents which has triggered fears that as football grows, the country will also suffer the hooliganism which dogged the sport in the UK for decades.
The latest clashes will not help the growth of the soccer which has tried to create a family friendly image as tries to compete for support with baseball and other established American sports.
Last year the rival fans fought outside a bar in Newark, New Jersey, hurling sandwich boards at each other and adopting hooligan chants which were once commonplace in England. The would-be hooligans even adopted cod-British accents as they shouted “who are ya?”.
There have been reports of fighting on the US West Coast and as far back as 2008 visiting West Ham fans fought with supporters of Columbus Crew during a pre-season friendly.
The humiliating 7-0 defeat against the Red Bulls equals the record for the heaviest defeat in Major League Soccer history. The Los Angeles Galaxy beat the Dallas Burn 8-1 in 1998 while Chicago Fire beat the Kansas City Wizards 7-0 in 2001.
City, an affiliate of Premier League side Manchester City, have invested heavily in a squad featuring several veteran European stars including Andrea Pirlo, David Villa and Lampard.
Pirlo and Villa - who last week, with Lampard were anonymous as the Red Bulls ran riot before City's home fans at Yankee Stadium.
The Red Bulls seized the initiative after only three minutes with a goal from Dax McCarty.
Here's another video from the earlier clashes with NYCFC and NYRB fans outside Yankee Stadium... pic.twitter.com/NTfWPuyiWt— Garry Hayes (@garryhayes) May 21, 2016
Veteran English striker Bradley Wright-Phillips made it 2-0 three minutes before half-time, heading home at close range after superb work on the left flank by Mike Grella.
Wright-Phillips then grabbed an opportunistic second in first-half stoppage time, scoring with an overhead kick from eight yards out after City failed to clear a Grella cross.
Shell-shocked City manager Patrick Vieira described the opening 45 minutes as "a disaster" in comments at halftime.
"We didn't play at all," the French World Cup winner told Fox television.
But the second half continued in similar vein, McCarty making it 4-0 after 51 minutes, punishing slack marking in the City area to head home.
It got worse for City five minutes later when Alex Muyl blasted home from just inside the area after a deft layoff from Wright-Phillips. Gonzalo Veron headed in number six on 83 minutes before Gideon Baah scrambled home a seventh in the 89th minute.
Football has been growing in popularity in the US in recent years especially during the 2014 World Cup when Tim Howard, the goalkeeper, became a national hero when he saved the team from humiliation by Belgium with a string of saves.