Moments from 2012: Brandon Barklage's Breakout

We’re revisiting some of the top moments from the Red Bulls’ 2012 season. In this installment, we’ll look back at the June 24 match against D.C. United in which Brandon Barklage found the back of the net twice against his former club.

The stage couldn’t have been any bigger for Red Bulls defender Brandon Barklage.

In front of a sell-out crowd at Red Bull Arena and against his former club for the first time since signing with the Red Bulls during the 2011-12 offseason, Barklage put on a display that provided New York with two goals and solid defending en route to three big points against the side’s longest-lasting rival.

Match Highlights: NY 3, DC 2

After conceding an early goal to D.C. United just 30 seconds into the match, the Red Bulls drew level in the 20th minute when a Thierry Henry corner kick worked its way into the box to meet a sprinting Barklage, who played it perfectly off his foot and placed a line drive past a diving Bill Hamid.

Then, in two minutes of added time, Barklage let loose a rocket from the top of the box that made it into the back of the net sooner than Hamid could blink. A Jan Gunnar Solli tally in the 55th minute provided enough insurance for the Red Bulls, as they celebrated a 3-2 victory in front of the sell-out, home crowd.

Barklage’s performance against his former club was bittersweet to say the least. While playing for D.C. in 2010, the St. Louis native suffered a season-ending ACL injury after just three matches, two of which were starts. Upon his return in 2011, he logged just 38 minutes over four matches and was left to question his place on the team.

After signing with New York and earning a spot on the Red Bulls’ back line, Barklage admitted that he was counting down the days leading up to his break-out match.

“This is the date that I definitely circled on the calendar,” Barklage said to reporters following New York’s win. “I knew I was just going to go out there and give it 110 percent and whatever happened, happened. Thankfully, I got the two goals against an ex-team. It feels unbelievable.”

Unfortunately a hamstring strain against the Philadelphia Union on July 21 left Barklage with little choice but to spend time healing up for the final stretch of the season. He made his return to the pitch on Sept. 22 as a sub in New York’s 1-1 draw against New England, followed by two full 90-minute stints against Toronto on Sept. 29, and Chicago on Oct. 6. But the injury bug crept up again, as he suffered a plantar fascia injury to his left foot that forced him to miss the remainder of the season. Nevertheless, the Red Bulls have high hopes for Barklage in 2013, as he was offered a new deal on Nov. 26.