The New York Red Bulls will host rival D.C. United Saturday at 8:00 PM for the second time this season in what will also double over as the third and final meeting between the sides. Given D.C.’s position in the standings (10th in the East), it’s safe to say the two clubs will not be meeting in the postseason. But this one? This one’s for the Atlantic Cup.
Here’s the scenario: So long as the Red Bulls win (ideal), draw (a point is a point) or lose by only one goal (no thanks), then the club will claim this season’s Atlantic Cup.
In this week’s What to Watch For, we touched briefly upon D.C.’s ability to take down top-tier teams. In short, of D.C.’s three wins, two came against Conference-leading clubs: Montreal in the East, and Real Salt Lake in the West. New York knows it has to put its best foot forward, especially at home, if they want to earn three crucial points in the standings.
The Red Bulls hold a 1-0-1 record against D.C. this season, and enter the weekend primed to claim the Atlantic Cup. In this article, we’ll take a brief look back on this season’s two previous meetings.
Mar. 17: Red Bulls 0, D.C. United 0
Despite out-shooting D.C. United 24-4, the Red Bulls were unable to crack the goose egg during the Mar. 17 home opener. Fabian Espindola hit the crossbar twice, Thierry Henry unleashed 10 shots, Tim Cahill watched a good look stopped, and Brandon Barklage’s last-ditch header attempt in stoppage time was kept out with a one-handed effort from Bill Hamid.
On the other side of the pitch, Luis Robles was rarely challenged but was up to the task when his number was called. That much was evident following Chris Pontius’ attempt from point-blank range in the 59th minute that was kept off the mark by a sliding Robles.
Hamid did his part and then some to keep D.C. within striking distance, stopping all seven shots faced and claiming Player of the Week honors for his effort.
Simply put, three points just weren’t in the cards that night, but the performance was a promising one. New York wouldn’t have to wait long before taking on D.C. again.
Apr. 13: Red Bulls 2, D.C. United 0
The two sides faced off once again less than a month later, this time at RFK Stadium. Still looking to find a groove, the Red Bulls entered the match fresh off a 3-1 loss to the Chicago Fire and two weeks after registering their first win of the season against the Union on Mar. 30. Now, on the road, the Red Bulls were hopeful that a positive result was in their future.
Henry was first to find the back of the net in the 29th minute when he took a feed from Dax McCarty, created space, and fired a shot from 25 yards out that bounced past Hamid for his second of the season.
Seven minutes later defender Jamison Olave stepped up to put away his third of the season when he deflected one on goal and into the netting off his thigh.
Defensively, the Red Bulls remained resilient against their rival, as Robles parried away a Dwayne De Rosario free kick in the 72nd minute before bouncing right back to redirect Pontius’ rebound attempt. By the time the final whistle blew, New York had shut out D.C. for the second time in 2013, this time taking three points in the process. The victory also marked the Red Bulls’ first road win of the season.
The Red Bulls and D.C. United kick off from Red Bull Arena Saturday at 8 PM. Get tickets now at Red Bulls Ticket Central, or call 877.RB.SOCCER.