Preview: NY, DC set to continue rivalry on NBC Sports
NEW YORK RED BULLS vs D.C. UNITED
RED BULL ARENA, Harrison, N.J.
June 24, 2012 (WEEK 16, MLS Game #146)
7 p.m. ET (NBC SN)
The New York Red Bulls and D.C. United meet for the second time this season in their Atlantic Cup rivalry, Sunday evening at a sold-out Red Bull Arena in front of an NBC Sports Network audience. The Red Bulls return home after a two-game road swing ended at midweek in a 1-1 draw at Vancouver Whitecaps FC. United roll north on I-95 riding a four-game winning streak, coming off a 1-0 victory at Philadelphia Union last weekend.
REFEREE: Mark Geiger. SAR (bench): Sean Hurd; JAR (opposite): Joe Fletcher; 4th: John McCloskey
MLS Career: 97 games; FC/gm: 26.3; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 22; pens: 32
- NEW YORK RED BULLS -- OUT: MF Teemu Tainio (R knee sprain); FW Jose Angulo (R knee sprain); QUESTIONABLE: FW Thierry Henry (R calf strain); MF Rafa Marquez (R thigh contusion)
- D.C. UNITED - OUT: MF Lance Rozeboom (L knee ACL tear); PROBABLE: MF Danny Cruz (R hamstring strain)
NBC Sports Preview: NY vs. DC
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: NY: Dane Richards (caution accumulation; through June 24)
- SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: NY: Dax McCarty
- SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: NY: Joel Lindpere ... DC: Maicon Santos, Chris Pontius, Dwayne De Rosario, Andy Najar, Dejan Jakovic
ALL-TIME (57 meetings): Red Bulls 19 wins (1 shootout), 82 goals ...United 31 wins (1 shootout), 112 goals ... Ties 7
AT NEW YORK (27 meetings): Red Bulls 10 wins (0 shootout), 35 goals ... United 13 wins (0 shootout), 47 goals ... Ties 4
FUTURE MATCH: 8/29: D.C. United vs. New York Red Bulls, 8 p.m. (Galavision)
- A hat trick from Chris Pontius and a Nick DeLeon strike led United to a dominant 4-1 United win against the Red Bulls when the clubs first met this season, April 22 at RFK Stadium.
- United won 1-0 last July 9 at Red Bull Arena, ending a three-game winless stretch against New York. In that match, D.C. scored for the first time vs. the Red Bulls since their last win, a 2-0 triumph June 4, 2009.
- The Red Bulls had won their last two visits to RFK Stadium in dominant fashion, scoring six goals without reply. The Red Bulls' 2-0 win in May 2010 was their first in the nation's capital since 2005.
- The Red Bulls have won the Atlantic Cup the last two years, with three wins in the 10 years it has been contested. New York first won in 2003. Goal difference is the first tie-breaker, followed by away goals; if still tied, the Red Bulls (as holders) will retain the cup.
- Coaches record: Ben Olsen v NY: P3 W2 L1 D0 ... Hans Backe vs. DC: P5 W2 L2 D1
4/22: DC 4, NY 1 (Pontius 8, 32, 69; DeLeon 36 - Henry 72)
- United opened the scoring in the eighth minute. After stripping the ball from Thierry Henry in midfield, Chris Pontius made his way toward goal, and with a clear sight from outside the box, unleashed a powerful 25-yard shot that dipped and beat goalkeeper Ryan Meara.
- United then put the game away with two goals in four minutes. In the 32nd minute, Maicon Santos worked his way down the left flank before sending in a cross that hit Meara and deflected off a defender before falling right in front of goal, where Pontius slammed it into the goal.
- It was 3-0 when Dwayne De Rosario picked off another New York turnover and quickly fed Nick DeLeon in the box. The rookie fired a one-time shot that ricocheted off defender Markus Holgersson, leaving ëkeeper Meara no chance.
- In the 69th minute, Pontius completed his hat trick. A long ball pumped forward from goalkeeper Joe Willis fell for Pontius, who slalomed through the center of the New York defense, skipped past Victor Palsson's last-ditch slide tackle, and slotted the shot under Meara.
- Henry finally got the Red Bulls on the board in the 72nd minute through an inch-perfect freekick.
- D.C. UNITED (4-3-1-2): Joe Willis - Robbie Russell, Brandon McDonald, Emiliano Dudar, Daniel Woolard - Danny Cruz, Perry Kitchen, Nick DeLeon - Dwayne De Rosario (Stephen King 66) - Maicon Santos (Hamdi Salihi 75), Chris Pontius (Lewis Neal 87).
- NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-4-2): Ryan Meara - Jan Gunnar Solli, Stephen Keel (Tyler Ruthven 46), Markus Holgersson, Connor Lade - Dane Richards (Jhonny Arteaga 81), Victor Palsson, Dax McCarty, Mehdi Ballouchy (Joel Lindpere 46) - Kenny Cooper, Thierry Henry.
NEW YORK RED BULLS
The New York Red Bulls completed their two-game road swing with a draw, coming back for a 1-1 result with Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Wednesday evening at BC Place. The Red Bulls are in third place in the Eastern Conference, with 27 points from 15 games.
HIGHLIGHTS: New York take the point in Vancouver
- Both of the game's goals came through central defenders in the final quarter-hour. In the 75th minute, Davide Chiumiento created space on the right flank before crossing a low ball into the area. Three Whitecaps made an attempt to go for the ball, before it eventually landed at Martin Bonjour's feet, and he curled it into the upper corner from the top of the box.
- But the Red Bulls equalized in the 86th minute. After a corner was played short, Joel Lindpere put in a cross from the right that found a completely unmarked Heath Pearce, and he headed home from close range.
- Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe made one change to the team that fell to a 3-1 loss to the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park. Connor Lade came into the team in place of Wilman Conde.
- NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-5-1): Ryan Meara - Brandon Barklage, Heath Pearce, Markus Holgersson, Roy Miller - Dane Richards, Joel Lindpere (Victor Palsson 90), Dax McCarty, Jan Gunnar Solli, Connor Lade - Kenny Cooper (Jhonny Arteaga 90).
- The draw made it three games without a win for the Red Bulls, since a five-game winning streak from April 28-May 19.
- The Red Bulls were managed by assistant coach Jan Halvor Halvorsen, while head coach Hans Backe remained home to tend to personal matters
- "For us today it was mostly about having a working attitude on the team, because against Chicago it was a little bit flat giving up easy goals," said Halvorsen. "I'm happy with the team today, with the hard work, and we also scored a goal. So I'm quite happy with this result against Vancouver."
- The goal was Heath Pearce's first in MLS in four seasons, but his second in all competitions since coming to New York in a trade with Chivas USA last month. Pearce also scored in the Open Cup third-round win vs. Charleston.
- "I think it speaks to the character of the team both home and away that we're getting points and we're doing it in different ways," Pearce said. "We're not always playing the most attractive soccer, and sometimes we're getting points in an attractive way and sometimes we're grinding it out. That's the stuff that pays off later in the season. It's good to continue to pick up points."
- After playing in a defensive midfield role in Chicago, Pearce returned to the back four, coming into central defense as Wilman Conde sat out. Halvorsen put out the team with five in the midfield.
- "I thought we were a little bit passive on Sunday against Chicago in terms of our defensive mindset, in terms of being aggressive, in terms of closing down spaces quickly, in terms of making it hard for them to break us down," said Pearce. "Those were some of the things touched on today before the game, was that we need to go back to that. Making it hard for teams to break us down and making it hard for teams to play good soccer or even get chances."
- Connor Lade came back into the first team, playing the full match in a wide midfield role.
- After playing up top in Chicago, Dane Richards returned to his more usual wide midfield duties, with Kenny Cooper the lone out-and-out striker.
- "We have great players that are missing so we had to step up and get a point in a tough environment," said. "That showed depth and the coaches have done a great job."
13 Games, 26 Goals
D.C. United stretched their winning streak to four games, getting the game's only goal for a win against Philadelphia Union on Saturday evening at PPL Park. United lead the Eastern Conference with 30 points from 16 games.
HIGHLIGHTS: United spoil Hackworth's debut in Philly
- The game's lone goal came in the 78th minute, when United's Chris Pontius finished off a Branko Boskovic free kick, tapping in from close range.
- In the first game in charge for interim manager John Hackworth, Union generated the majority of scoring chances putting nine attempts on goal and three shots on target, but United goalkeeper Bill Hamid held firm.
- United head coach Ben Olsen made three changes to the team that claimed a 3-2 win against the New England Revolution at RFK Stadium. Robbie Russell came into the back four for Chris Korb, and Maicon Santos and Chris Pontius started up top for Branko Boskovic and Hamdi Salihi.
- D.C. UNITED (4-3-1-2): Bill Hamid - Robbie Russell, Brandon McDonald, Dejan Jakovic, Daniel Woolard - Andy Najar, Perry Kitchen, Nick DeLeon (Lewis Neal 61) - Dwayne De Rosario - Maicon Santos (Branko Boskovic 72), Chris Pontius (Hamdi Salihi 80)
- D.C. United extended their winning streak to four games, their longest since winning four in a row from June 7-29, 2008.
- "They were good - give them a lot of credit," United manager Ben Olsen said. "They caused a lot of problems with guys that had freedom to roam. At the end of the day, it's about winning games. We defended the box real well all night long. That's what you have to do in away games in this league."
- Branko Boskovic has an assist in each of the last three games for United, each one coming from a free kick service.
- "We didn't play well tonight. They had most of the possession for the better part of the game," said Chris Pontius. "We found the way to win with the unbelievable ball Branko was able to get in. I was lucky to get the back of the post."
- Boskovic came on as a substitute after each of the previous three league games, his first starts since April 18.
- "He controlled the midfield," Dwayne De Rosario said. "He found the little pockets when I was underneath and we started to knock the ball around and keep possession in [Philadelphia's] half, which was lacking a little bit."
- Pontius was making his first league appearance since May 12 after suffering a thigh strain, which forced him out of three games. The goal was his first since May 5, when he scored four goals over a four-game stretch.
- "The little bit of the layoff had us a little rusty, but we will hopefully the soccer stuff will get better," said Olsen. "Branko had an unbelievable free kick. I was happy that Chris was able to get the goal."
- After making his first start since April 14 against New England on May 26, Dejan Jakovic was called into the Canadian national team. While Jakovic did not feature in any of Canada's matches, including a pair of World Cup qualifiers, he was reinstalled into central defense alongside Brandon McDonald.
- "He came out strong," said goalkeeper Bill Hamid. "Last ditch efforts, tackles, headers, he was in the right spot for everything. He had a great game." Said McDonald: "For him to come back from an international break and not get many minutes and come on the pitch and stay focused for the full 90 speaks volumes."
HIGHLIGHTS: United shell New York in Atlantic Cup opener