New York and D.C. United will square off for the 63rd time in MLS regular season play this Saturday at RFK Stadium in one of the oldest and most intense rivalries in MLS. The Red Bulls will be looking to continue a five-game regular season unbeaten their run against their I-95 foe and retain the Atlantic Cup – the trophy given to the winner of the series – for the fourth time in five years, as former teammates, both on the sidelines (head coaches Mike Petke and Ben Olsen) and on the field, square off.
2013 was New York’s year in this series. Here is a look back to the three games between the sides.
March 16, 2013 – D.C. United 0 at Red Bulls 0
In the 2013 home opener at Red Bull Arena, the Red Bulls settled for a scoreless draw with D.C. United despite out-shooting their opponent, 24-4, in front of 22,022 spectators. The Red Bulls controlled most of the match and in the eighth minute, New York’s Eric Alexander slipped Thierry Henry in and the Frenchman forced goalkeeper Bill Hamid to make a full extension stop. The best chance of the first half came when ex-Red Bull, and current United forward, Fabian Espindola headed a Henry feed off the crossbar. New York nearly won it at the end of the game but D.C. was able to clear a shot off the line.
April 13, 2013 – Red Bulls 2 at D.C. United 0
Goals from Henry and Jamison Olave helped give the Red Bulls a 2-0 win over rival D.C. United at RFK Stadium. In the 29th minute, former United midfielder Dax McCarty drove the ball towards United’s defensive third and found Henry. Henry created space for himself and his shot from 25-yards out bounced past goalkeeper Bill Hamid and into the back of the net. Moments later, Olave found the ball in the box and redirected it in past Hamid to give the Red Bulls a 2-0 advantage. New York goalkeeper Luis Robles came up with big saves in the 72nd minute, first going down to parry a Dwayne De Rosario free kick and then blocking Chris Pontius’ rebound.
August 31, 2013 – D.C. United 1 at Red Bulls 2
Lloyd Sam and Tim Cahill scored first half goals, while Robles saved a penalty kick, as the Red Bulls won the 2013 Atlantic Cup, defeating D.C. United 2-1. The Red Bulls took the lead in the eight minute when Cahill controlled a Bradley Wright-Phillips pass and slipped it across to the right side of the penalty box to Sam, who dribbled it in and chipped it over a diving Hamid. In the 36th minute, United would tie the match at one when Nick DeLeon controlled a pass, cut to his left foot and put it past Robles. Two minutes later, Jonny Steele created space on the left wing and his cross was met by Cahill, who rose above the defense to head the ball into the net.
Saturday’s match will be the first of three meetings this season between the Red Bulls and United. On August 31, the Red Bulls will return to D.C. to take on the Black-and-Red. Then, on September 10, D.C. United will travel to Red Bull Arena to take on the Red Bulls.