Playoff positions are on the line today as D.C. United hosts the New York Red Bulls. The Atlantic Cup rivals are meeting for just the second time this season, the Black-and-Red won the first match 2-0 with goals from Alvaro Saborio and Patrick Nyarko.
Things have changed for both teams since then, D.C. United has added a few pieces since then and the Red Bulls lost a very familiar face in Lloyd Sam. Neither of the two teams have been good on the road this season, they’ve won a combined two games as the visiting team.
New York is in third place at the moment with 36 points, a win today would help them establish some distance between them and the two teams behind them.
As for the home side, they are looking up at the red line. If the playoffs were to start today, the Black-and-Red would be on the outside looking in. Three points today would help them overtake Orlando City SC, who lead D.C. United by just one point in the standings.
Bill Hamid talked about the job his team has done defensively over the past few games, mentioning the high quality of forwards they’ve had to deal with. It gets no easier today as Bradley Wright-Phillips comes to RFK this afternoon. He’s currently second in the league in scoring with 14 goals, he registered a brace in their last contest.
The Red Bulls will have their hands full as well, while Patrick Mullins hasn’t been the guy putting the ball in the back of the net, he’s played a huge role in making it happen. He’s proved to be outstanding in holdup play and has created well for others when given the chance. D.C. United’s counter attack is much quicker than it used to be, the pace out wide and Acosta’s creativity in the middle have helped them put teams on their heels at times. Although, they need to finish better as they left a few goals on the field last week against Portland.
While Sam is entrenched here in D.C. and already has the mindset of “we”, Mullins mentioned that he’d like to help his new teammate get a win against his former club.
It should be a fun match as their are heavy postseason implications in this one. D.C. United needs to do something they’ve rarely done this season to get the three points, put back-to-back quality games together.