NY Red Bulls V DC United recap

After a lackluster midweek performance which resulted in a lost against league worst Chicago Fire, the Red Bulls were back at Red Bull Arena to face Eastern Conference leaders DC United. With a performance pendulum swing from midweek, the Red Bulls made it look easy in what was perhaps one of their best performances of the season, as they vulgarized DC United by the scoreline of 3-0, a scoreline that could have easily been more expressive had it not been for Bill Hamid.    
In a high 80’s, humid night in Harrison the Red Bulls looked like they had something the prove to themselves.  After all, they could have had the opportunity to leapfrogging DC United ahead of tonight’s clash,(had they beaten Chicago midweek) nevertheless the Red Bulls looked to be out to send a message to DC United, and to keep their historic rivals at arms length in the Eastern Conference table.
Jesse Marsch’s men started strong, and it wasn’t too soon before showing Bill Hamid he was going to be in for a busy night. Mike Grella, and Sacha Kljestan looked inspired from the get go as they were both finding spaces, and holes in the DC United defense only to be stopped by Hamid on a few occasions. The Red Bulls dominated play with their possession style, and short combinations, exploring spaces in DC’s defensive positioning, and penetrating into DC United’s final third.  The Red Bulls goal in the 33rd minute arrived a bit late considering what the Red Bulls had done up until that point. Bradley Wright-Phillips found himself unmarked in the middle of the two center defenders, and dished off to streaking Sam, who in the face of Bill Hamid was able to finally beat the DC United keeper, who up until that point had stopped every Red Bull incursion.
The domination continued, and the Red Bulls would once again make the Red Bull faithful erupt in celebration following a beautiful play that was capped by an unstoppable close range shot by BWP, his 12th goal of the season. Kemar Lawrence won the ball in the midfield, found Mike Grella on a diagonal, the New York native volleyed an impressive cross into the heart of the box, to which BWP responded to an equally impressive shot past a helpless, and motionless Hamid.   
The 2-0 scoreline at halftime seemed short for the dominance the Red Bulls had in the first half, and DC United seemed powerless to stop the Red Bulls, whose pressure on the defensive side of the ball, and movement, and fluidity on the offensive side of the ball was proving to be too much for the Eastern Conference leaders.  The Red Bulls had 57% of the possession in the first half, completed 81 % of their 280 passes, and had a staggering 15 shots, 13 of them coming inside the box. DC United struggled to get anything going on the offensive side of the ball, both possessing the ball and finding some rhythm to their game.
With a 2-0 lead, and having played midweek, the Red Bulls were expected to come out in the second half, and play a more controlling style of soccer to see the game out, but that wasn’t the case as the team who gets their name from the energy drink looked to have plenty of energy in the tank, and were once again flying high in search of another goal. New York’s goal would arrive in the 64th minute as BWP doubled his tally beating Hamid on a one on one situation. Kljestan found BWP free of marking, and onside, (following another DC United turnover) last year’s Golden Boot winner tucked it away for New York’s third.  
Ben Olsen who had introduced Farfan, and Doyle for Halsti, and Pontius, before the Red Bulls third goal, hoping to get back in the game, knew this wasn’t DC’s night, as the Red Bulls were proving to be too much for the men from the nations’ capital. The Red Bulls would eventually step off the accelerator and see out the game with Veron, Zizzo and Davis getting some minutes as Marsch looked to refresh the side.
The Red Bulls sweep DC United in the 3 game season series, and take their fourth consecutive Atlantic Cup.  Taking the season series may very well give the Red Bulls the confidence and the momentum to overtake DC in the standings, but the Red Bulls know come playoff time they may very well have to face this DC team again. Tonight’s win will surely give New York the mental edge, but more importantly it will assure this team that they have what it takes to be the top team in the Eastern Conference, if they continue to put out the same level of performances for the remainder of the season.

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