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Red Bulls dominate the first Leg and earn a shutout

Since the league got started back in 1996 the last time the New York Red Bulls earned a playoff victory over their hated rivals in DC United it was a shootout win with Peter Vermes limping on the Giants Stadium Astroturf field trying to convert a chance to win that game and he did.
But since then the Metros/Red Bulls haven’t had any luck beating DC United in that first playoff series and the next three as the team from our Nation’s Capital have found ways to defeated and befuddle this club every playoff chance they got.

But the first playoff win against DC United finally came to fruition as the New York Red Bulls within a 72 hour period came out on their home field and dominated the first leg of this goal aggregate tie with a 2-0 victory.

DC United came out putting a ton of pressure against the Red Bulls, but somehow the side that should’ve been out of breath started to turn it around and created plenty of chances to take advantage of the match. Their first tally came in the 40th minute with some pretty passing and a connection that has been perfect Since April 23rd.
Lloyd Sam from the far side gave Thierry Henry a beautiful ball down the field and just inside the DC area, but with a defender on him Henry was able to hold the ball and a quick back heel flick across the field. It had enough pace on it as Luyindula left it alone and Bradley Wright-Phillips took a hard shot that beat Bill Hamid for the lead with five minutes left before half time.

All throughout the game the Red Bulls were dominating the regular season Eastern Conference winners and every single time they had a chance to get a second Bill Hamid was right there to keep DC United in the game, till the 73rd minute when the Red Bulls put an exclamation point on the match. Another brilliant ball from Henry as he crossed it from the far touch line to the middle of the field as Peguy Luyindula with a gentle touch collected the ball with his right foot and when Hamid came off his line, all Luyindula had to do was slot it underneath Hamid’s leg and roll it inside the net.

“It was a big victory.” Said Head Coach Mike Petke, “It started off, in the first 10-15 minutes it was obvious that they were rested and physically up for it, and we looked a little slower than usual. They put it on us a little, great pressure by them, I think after that it opened up a little bit, and once we were able to find the wings and play a couple of penetrating balls, I think from then on, especially in the second half, we found a lot more success.”

But on the DC side of things Ben Olsen was not happy with the performance from his side. “I think New York put a whooping on us. They were very good and we weren’t. We weren’t great for large stretches of that game, they’ve got a lot of class out there and the way they pass the ball and I thought their midfield in particularly was very sharp and (Thierry) Henry, when he chooses to, is one of the best players in this league.

Now with the road goals rule being involved for the first time in the MLS Cup Playoffs the Red Bulls have a chance to take advantage in six days to convert on the road and force more pressure on DC United and advance to the Eastern Conference Final and that would be the next best thing for this run to get better.

Author: Daniel Feuerstein
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