RED BULLS DEFEAT D.C. UNITED AFTER INTENSE SECOND HALF BY 2-1.
SK – Lloyd Sam put the New York Red Bulls ahead after eight minutes. He cheekily lobbed Bill Hamid with a cross-shot. The visiting goalkeeper promptly got a hand to the ball, but referee Juan Guzman correctly observed that the ball had crossed the goal line in its entirety. In the opening exchanges of the game Sam´s pace and liveliness had already unsettled his direct opponent James Riley and the DC rearguard. It would be a feature throughout the first half.
While Sam and Jonny Steele were very industrious on the wings for the New York Red Bulls, DC United threatened seriously for the first time after 27 minute with a beautifully crafted attack on the right channel: Lewis Neal blasted De Rosario´s low cross just wide. The visitors did equalize in the 36th minute: De Rosario´s cross from the left found DeLeon completely unmarked. MLS debutant Carney sprinted to cover ground, but DeLeon cut past Carney with his right foot in a Bergkamp- esque style to slam it in from close range with his other foot.
DC United´s joy was short-lived. Australian international Tim Cahill restored the lead for the hosts two minutes leader with a powerful , downward header from Steele´s nifty cross. It was the Australian´s eight goal of the MLS-campaign, making him New York Red Bulls´ top scorer this MLS-campaign with eight goals. Bradley Wright-Philips nearly extended the New York Red Bulls´ advantage before the break but his glancing header went wide.
The visitors came out of the dressing room refreshed and immediately seized the initiative: Luis Robles spilled De Rosario´s curling attempt, but managed to smother it before further danger could ensue. In the 51rst minute Luis Silva, the midfield spine of DC United, hit the woodwork with a header. With the pressure mounting on the home defence , Tim Cahill signalled he was in need of substitution. The Australian, putting in a formidable performance slightly up field, left the field with a right ankle injury for Thierry Henry.
The Frenchman made an immediate impact injecting pace and firepower into his team. He first curled a shot just past the bottom right corner before the omnipresent Sam got Henry in a good position, but the number 14 was unable to direct his header. In a horrible mix-up between Robles and defender Ibrahim Sekagya, the latter committed a bookable offense on De Rosario. Referee Guzman pointed to the spot and sent Sekagya packing. Robles saved De Rosario´s nonchalantly taken penalty with a save to his right-hand side.
It was Robles´s save that would prove to be the difference between the two teams, as Petke´s men held firm for the rest of the game. The New York Red Bulls, in defeating old rivals D.C United, not only won the Atlantic Cup, but moved up to 42 points. A good tally in the race for a play-off spot. A sigh of relief was tangible at the end of an intense, but victorious evening for the New York Red Bulls.