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New York Red Bulls 3, DC United 0 | MLS Match Recap

HARRISON, N.J. – The latest chapter in one of the league’s most storied rivalries saw the New York Red Bulls turn in one of their best performances of the season, smashing D.C. United 3-0 on Sunday at Red Bull Arena to win their fourth Atlantic Cup in the last six years.

Red Bulls-United matchups are typically heated encounters, but the circumstances surrounding Sunday’s match gave this contest a little extra intensity. Just five points behind United at the start of the match with three games in hand, the Red Bulls came out flying and nearly found themselves in front within five minutes.

Fresh off of a one goal, one assist performance in New York’s midweek loss at Chicago, midfielder Sacha Kljestan was in the middle of all the action for New York going forward. In the fourth minute, Kljestan found himself with time and space at the top of the area, but his effort went just wide of the far post.

The Red Bulls would continue their early barrage, pressing for game’s opening goal with wave after wave of attacking pressure.

Midfielders Felipe and Mike Grella nearly combined to put the Red Bulls in front in the 15th minute after the Brazilian’s clever through ball found Grella in the box, but his shot was stopped from close range by onrushing goalkeeper Bill Hamid. Hamid’s heroics would continue, as he denied both Kljestan and Grella again within the opening 15 minutes.

The Red Bulls finally beat Hamid in the 33rd minute, with Lloyd Sam capitalizing on a counterattack to put New York ahead 1-0. Kemar Lawrence intercepted a pass near midfield, quickly finding Bradley Wright-Phillips in the center of the attacking third. Wright-Phillips slipped a wide-open Sam into the right side of the box, with the winger slipping a shot past Hamid and inside the far post.

The Red Bulls doubled their advantage in the 42nd minute. After a long spell of possession, Felipe found Grella in the area with long ball over the top. Grella quickly controlled and crossed into the area, where Wright-Phillips smashed a stunning volley past a frozen Hamid and into the top-right corner.

The home side continued to dominate in the second half, piling on the pressure and keeping D.C. pinned in their own half.

They put the game away in the 64th minute, with Wright-Phillips netting his second of the night and 13th of the season to extend the lead to 3-0. Kljestan played a looped ball forward as the United defense appealed for an offside flag that never came, leaving Wright-Phillips all alone in the 18 to bury a bouncing ball into the lower-left corner.

Both sides are on a bye next weekend, with the Red Bulls returning to action on Sept. 11 with a home date against the Chicago Fire. D.C. will look to rebound from Sunday’s defeat on Sept. 12, when they travel to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park to take on the Colorado Rapids.

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