The New York Red Bulls beat D.C. United, 5-3, on a rainy night at Audi Field.
New York and D.C. went into the half tied 3-3 following a first half brace from Omir Fernandez and a hat trick from United's Christian Benteke.
Cameron Harper scored for New York just before the half to even up the score.
Sean Nealis scored the game winner, heading in the ball off a corner kick, in the second half. John Tolkin put the finishing touches on the game with a goal in added time.
New York opened the match’s scoring in the 17th minute after Fernandez received a cross from Harper and found the back of the net on a one-time finish.
D.C. found their equalizer just four minutes later when Benteke headed home a loose ball off a corner kick. Benteke would get on the scoresheet for the second time in the match in the 36th minute, after the forward jammed in a scramble at the goal mouth to put his side in front.
New York would battle back in the 44th minute, when Fernandez slotted away a penalty kick drawn by Tolkin to grab his brace and level the match once again. Three minutes later, D.C. United drew a penalty kick of their own and Benteke sealed his first half hat trick.
In the fifth minute of stoppage time in the first half, New York would level the match yet again, this time from Harper, who sunk home a shot from a corner kick that took a deflection off Tom Barlow.
New York captured the lead yet again, this time from the head of captain Nealis, who finished a perfect corner kick received from Tolkin. New York doubled their lead in stoppage time of the second half on a combination play started by a threaded pass from Luquinhas to Tolkin, who sent one past the D.C. goalkeeper for the fifth time in the match.
"The thing that I'm most proud of is that we were able to display the type of resilience and fight that we've been displaying since May 8, when I took over," Head Coach Troy Lesesne said. "I see a committed group. It's not always perfect. It doesn't always go in the script that we want. Tonight, though, I think what you were able to see is we were able to execute, and we were able to capitalize on some of the opportunities we had."
Fernandez’ goals were his seventh and eighth this season across all competitions and extended his club lead. The Bronx native has now scored six goals in MLS play this year, which also ranks him at first in the club.
Fernandez secured the first multi goal game of his career and tallied his fourteenth and fifteenth MLS goals with New York. The brace from Fernandez made him the fourth Red Bulls player to have a multi-goal goal game this season, joining Wiki Carmona, Frankie Amaya, and Dante Vanzeir.
"We don't see any end to the season in sight," Lesesne said. "We still have full belief that we can achieve something and make the playoffs. I'm really proud of the group."
Tolkin’s goal was his second in MLS play this season, both of which coming against D.C. United. The defender has now scored three career goals against D.C. United across all competitions.
Tolkin’s five MLS assists puts him in a tie for fifth by active MLS defenders this season.
The five goals from the Red Bulls were the most goals the club has scored in a match since July 19, 2017, when New York put up five against the San Jose Earthquakes.
The Red Bulls are now 5-0-1 against D.C. United in their last six matches across all competitions. New York has now won the season series against D.C. United, securing their sixth Atlantic Cup over the last seven seasons.
"There's a lot that went right tonight and I think that the group feels really good about that -- and they should," Lesesne said.
RBNY vs Chicago
RBNY vs Chicago
New York moves on to face Chicago Fire FC on Saturday, September 30 with a kickoff time set for 7:30 p.m. ET at Red Bull Arena. Coverage will be on Apple TV+, and New York Red Bulls Radio, the New York Red Bulls app and NewYorkRedBulls.com.