The feeling inside and outside of Red Bull Arena was very electric as the supporters came to see their side who captured their second Supporters Shield were ready to finish the job they started at RFK Stadium a week ago.
And once again it would be a poor shooting DC United who couldn't get anything right for once were beaten again for the second consecutive playoff season as the New York Red Bulls win on Aggregate by two goals to nil.
For ninety minutes you saw a Red Bulls side that played football very well being creative on and off the ball, but as always a tough keeper in Bill Hamid kept DC United in the game and found ways to disrupt any chance to get a goal.
Within the first five minutes of the match Sacha Kljestan created a dummy corner and went low to the ground that caught DC napping. As Sal Zizzo attacked the ball he let it roll towards Mike Grella and his rip nails the far corner bar and out.
After that moment it was all grit and dirt on the field as both sides gave no quarter and the fight was truly on to either salvage a season or extend one with one away goal in favor of the Red Bulls.
But once the match got into second half stoppage time, it was all over but the shouting as Bradley Wright-Phillips was able to convert the second goal of the series as well as the opening goal to close it out.
Gonzalo Veron found a way to beat Bobby Boswell at the near side touch line at midfield and started to make his way towards the DC area and a wide open BWP tracked the ball inside. Hamid tried to play the ball, but his sliding challenge with his right leg missed it and an easy conversion for his 51st goal in all competitions put the Red Bulls back into the Eastern Conference Final.
"This game was chippy like we thought & credit to DC as they made it very hard on us." Said Head Coach Jesse Marsch, "Never really allowed us to establish to get our flow into the game. Apart of that was we weren't sharp enough and that's the type of game DC likes to play."
In five games that include the playoffs and the regular season, the Red Bulls have acquired (if you want to count points) a point aggregate of 13 to 1 as they won four times and drew once. Three wins at home with a win & draw at RFK Stadium that is completely unheard of in this long and original rivalry in MLS.
Sacha Kljestan had a fantastic game not just on the offense, but also on the defense as he provided a good balance to attack as well as cover to help out the backline and the two defensive midfielders in Captain Dax McCarty and Felipe.
But the real heroes on the defense was the center back pairing of Ronald Zubar & Matt Miazga. These two went out and did a job to prevent DC from getting any true chance of threatening the Red Bulls net. "I thought Ronald was strong and that what brings him out to our team, when they play direct Ronald is our guy to prevent those balls from being dangerous."
But it's even more impressive to see Matt Miazga go out there and just play his game. Yes he has improved tremendously for the Red Bulls and showed a lot of poise, but the one moment where his immaturity comes into play is his arguing with the referee. In this second leg it was the very first time he kept quiet and never spoke back after he committed a foul or got fouled himself.
For DC United you can tell they were missing Chris Pontius badly. His attacking style on the ball was nowhere to be found as he was still suffering from a hamstring injury and wasn't even on the bench for the second consecutive game. While there was plenty of physical battles and two handed takedowns from some of the muscle, DC United were never a threat and they are a shell of their former selves.
Even Nick DeLeon who has always looked dangerous and found ways to sneak in thru the Red Bulls defense to convert goals was nowhere to be found and for once that was a good thing. At the end of the day the Red Bulls finally closed out a playoff series at home for the very first time and now await their next opponents in the Eastern Conference Finals either against the Columbus Crew or the Montreal Impact and either opponent should be a strong challenge against the Supporters Shield winners.