The Black-and-Red have been struggling of late, watching their once sound lead atop the Eastern Conference tables shrink with each loss. The rival New York Red Bulls trailed the East leading United by five points heading into last night’s match. The Red Bulls were dominant from start to finish last night at home in their 3-0 dispatching of D.C. They cut United’s lead to just two points, it was a brilliant display from the home team that left the visitors a bit shocked and questioning themselves a bit.
New York played with a certain vigor, starting the game by pressuring DC and never letting up. They created several chances just a few minutes into the game, but Bill Hamid being the type of keeper he is was able to thwart those opportunities.
“100 percent we’re worried, how could you not be? – United midfielder Chris Rolfe
One of the Black-and-Red’s biggest issues this season has been their inability or poor execution when it comes to clearing the ball on their back end. A large chunk of the goals they surrendered this season were created by those two types of situations. That’s what contributed to New York’s first two goals in the game.
Lloyd Sam found the back of the net in the 33rd minute, courtesy of one of those give-aways mentioned above. Kemar Lawrence intercepted a lazy pass, then found Bradley Wright-Phillips in the center of the field. He placed a gorgeous ball over to Sam who was able to beat Hamid on the far post.
They added to the lead in the 42nd minute on a gorgeous ball from Felipe, he played the long ball game with Mike Grella, who put the ball into the box. The rest was done by Wright-Phillips who completed the play with a blistering volley into the upper 90. Putting the home team up 2-0 against their bitter rivals.
Things never got better for United, they kept the pressure on and fully closed the door on any type of D.C. comeback int he 64th minute by scoring their third goal of the evening. It was none other than Wright-Phillips, he’s been a thorn in United’s side for some time now and he continued doing so last night with his two goals. United was playing an offsides trap and thought that the ball to Bradley was too late, but the linesman never raised his flag. The ball was played by New York’s Sacha Kljestan, it was a pretty ball that looped over the backline. Again, it appeared that all four members of United’s defense thought that Wright-Phillips was off sides, instead he ended up with a great opportunity and capitalized on it.
There was little in terms of silver linings for the Black-and-Red, there’s just six games left in the season and they haven’t looked good for a few weeks now. This is a huge week off for them, they get a chance to circle the wagons so to speak and respond accordingly during the home stretch of the regular season.
“The panic button isn’t pressed yet, but we know what we have to do to finish out this season.” – Sean Franklin
After the week off, United will travel to Colorado to face the Rapids on September 12. The Red Bulls will host the Chicago Fire the day before, it should certainly make for an exciting finish to the season.