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New York Red Bulls vs. D.C. United | MLS Match Preview

NEW YORK RED BULLS vs D.C. UNITED
RED BULL ARENA, Harrison, N.J.
Sept. 10, 2014 (WEEK 27, MLS Game #254)
8 p.m. ET (ESPN2/Deportes)

The final Atlantic Cup of the regular season is on tap as the New York Red Bulls play host to D.C. United on Wednesday evening at Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls are looking to maintain their home winning run and also move back into the top five in the Eastern Conference, following their 2-1 victory against Sporting Kansas City last weekend. United have extended their lead atop the division, continuing their road swing following a scoreless draw at Vancouver Whitecaps FC last Saturday.

REFEREE: Mark Geiger. AR1 (bench): Corey Parker; AR2 (opposite): Eric Weisbrod; 4th: Jorge Gonzalez
MLS Career: 123 games; FC/gm: 26.7; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 30; pens: 42

SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: NY: Jamison Olave, Ibrahim Sekagya … DC: Fabian Espindola
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: NY: Thierry Henry, Armando, Tim Cahill … DC: Davy Arnaud, Lewis Neal, Chris Korb, Perry Kitchen
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: NY: Tim Cahill (Australia; 9/4 v BEL, 9/8 v KSA); Ambroise Oyongo (Cameroon; 9/6 v. Dem. Rep. Congo; 9/10 vs. Ivory Coast); Santiago Castaño, Matt Miazga (U.S. U-20) … DC: Michael Seaton, (Jamaica, 9/9 v CAN); Nana Attakora (Canada, 9/9 v JAM)

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (64 meetings): Red Bulls 22 wins (1 shootout), 91 goals … United 33 wins (1 shootout), 120 goals … Ties 9
AT NEW YORK (30 meetings): Red Bulls 12 wins (0 shootout), 40 goals … United 13 wins (0 shootout), 50 goals … Ties 5

2014 (MLS):
4/12: DC 1, NY 0 (Arnaud 4)
8/31: DC 2, NY 0 (Silva 57; Johnson 91+)
• The teams are meeting for the third time this season, and United have won the first two. Luis Silva and Eddie Johnson scored second-half goals in a 2-0 D.C. victory on Aug. 31 at RFK Stadium; Davy Arnaud’s goal after just four minutes proved the difference in a 1-0 United win April 12.
• United haven’t won at Red Bull Arena in league play since 2011, when they claimed a 1-0 victory. But they did win there in the second leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in 2012.
• The United win in the first meeting snapped a Red Bulls a five-game undefeated streak in league play between the teams. United’s last previous regular season win vs. New York had come April 22, 2012, a 4-1 triumph at RFK Stadium.
• Playing for the Atlantic  Cup, the teams have a rich history against each other, dating back to the league’s inaugural season, when United defeated the then-MetroStars in the MLS Cup Playoffs. They’ve met 76 times in all competitions over the years; New York has won 24 and United have won 41, including a 6-1-2 record in the postseason.
• Coaches record: Ben Olsen vs. NY: P10 W4 L4 D2 … Mike Petke vs. DC: P5 W2 L2 D1

LAST MEETING (MLS)

• United finally broke the deadlock in the 52nd minute. A long goal kick from Bill Hamid was nodded on by Fabian Espindola into the path of Luis Silva. He raced into the Red Bulls area, took a touch around goalkeeper Luis Robles and easily slotted it home.
• The game was put away in stoppage time when substitute Eddie Johnson raced onto a long ball from midfielder Perry Kitchen and deftly chipped his shot past Robles, who got a hand to the ball but couldn't stop it from continuing over the line.
• Hamid made five saves for the clean sheet in the United goal, several of world-class caliber.
• D.C. UNITED (4-4-2): Bill Hamid - Sean Franklin, Bobby Boswell, Steve Birnbaum, Taylor Kemp - Nick DeLeon (Alex Caskey 87), Perry Kitchen, Davy Arnaud, Chris Rolfe - Fabian Espindola (Jared Jeffrey 85), Luis Silva (Eddie Johnson 66).
• NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-4-2): Luis Robles - Chris Duvall (Eric Alexander 63), Jamison Olave, Ibrahim Sekagya (Saer Sene 81), Roy Miller - Lloyd Sam, Dax McCarty, Tim Cahill (Peguy Luyindula 90), Ambroise Oyongo - Thierry Henry, Bradley Wright-Phillips.

NEW YORK RED BULLS

The New York Red Bulls won their third consecutive match at Red Bull Arena, defeating Sporting Kansas City 2-1 on Saturday evening in Harrison. The Red Bulls are in sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 34 points from 26 matches on the season.

LAST MATCH

• The Red Bulls took an early lead, after Sporting center back Matt Besler clipped Bradley Wright-Phillips with a sliding tackle, and referee Hilario Grajeda pointed to the spot. Wright-Phillips scored his league-leading 21st goal, firing an unstoppable shot to the left past goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum for an 11th-minute lead.
• The Red Bulls doubled the margin seven minutes into the second half. Taking a pass just outside the area on the left, Henry took advantage of some space at the top of the penalty area and thundered a shot into the far top corner past the full-stretch dive of Gruenebaum.
• Sporting pulled a goal two minutes later when Seth Sinovic whipped a ball in from the right flank that found Graham Zusi, who headed the ball across goal for Dwyer to scissor-kick home with an impressive side volley.
• Red Bulls boss Mike Petke made two changes to the team that fell 2-0 to D.C. United at RFK Stadium. Peguy Luyindula and Eric Alexander came into the midfield in place of Tim Cahill and Ambroise Oyongo.
• NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-4-2): Luis Robles - Chris Duvall, Jamison Olave, Ibrahim Sekagya (Armando 65), Roy Miller - Lloyd Sam, Dax McCarty, Peguy Luyindula (Saer Sene 76), Eric Alexander - Bradley Wright-Phillips, Thierry Henry (Ruben Bover 90).

TEAM NEWS

• The Red Bulls won their third consecutive home game and extended their undefeated streak at Red Bull Arena to six matches in the win against Sporting KC. The Red Bulls have lost back-to-back road games and haven’t won on the road since June 8, a span of five games.
• “These guys really understand that. How do we keep it going? Because we have to, 100 percent,” said Red Bulls coach Mike Petke. “ … We have to rack points up and it comes down to the next game which is D.C. on Wednesday at home. I think these guys understand (the intensity) has to stay up. If it doesn’t then we’re going to give ourselves less of a chance to succeed.”
• Bradley Wright-Phillips added to his MLS Golden Boot-leading total with his 21st goal in the Red Bulls’ 2-1 win against Sporting KC on Saturday evening. The 21 goals are tied for the ninth-most in a single season in league history.
• “I’ve said it all along, Bradley’s a guy that does whatever you tell him to. He’s a guy that adapts to the way that we want him to play instead of fighting it and doing things that he’s maybe more comfortable with,” said Petke. “Bradley doesn’t want to talk about the record or a record and that’s a credit to him. He just wants to keep scoring goals and I’m glad that he had another one.”
• Thierry Henry scored a stunning goal from long range, his second goal in three games and his fourth goal in seven games, since July 30.
• “When Thierry’s pissed off in the right way, when he’s engaged and when he’s taking it upon himself to be mentally into it right from the beginning, he’s unstoppable,” said midfielder Dax McCarty. “You can’t stop a player like that when he wants to play at his absolute best. I think he always wants to play at his best, but sometimes his frustration comes out in the wrong ways. I thought tonight he was unbelievable defensively, playing more tilted to the left. That kid Igor Juliao likes to bomb up and down the right wing and for the most part Thierry was right there with him and he was still making things happen going forward. When he’s like that, there’s not one person in this league that can stop him.”
• Said Petke: “Thierry, true to who he is as a person and a captain, he sought me out and we had a long conversation. Together we rededicated ourselves and tried to figure some stuff out. I told him, ‘Before, you showed what a captain is by coming to me earlier in the week and speaking about some things. Now, you’re going to show what a captain is on the field,’ and he did. He led the team, he put tireless work in and he capped it off with a Goal of the Year nomination, for sure.”
• With Tim Cahill away on international duty, Peguy Luyindula came into the side in an attacking role, his first start since June 27.
• Eric Alexander also returned the starting lineup on the left side of midfield with Ambroise Oyongo also away on national team duty.
• “The staff sat down and said who are our four best attacking players? And we pinpointed those best four and we put them in positions we thought that they could hurt. That’s why Dax and Eric’s whole role tonight was to sit home and be the link offensively from one side to the other, and defensively clog it up and do the dirty work. You add an overlapping fullback and you have five guys going forward that are dangerous,” said Petke. “Thierry’s no stranger to playing out on the left and you could argue almost every game this year he winds up there large chunks of the time. He’s comfortable there. So we basically started him there and as always with Thierry that’s a starting point and we want him to go wherever he’s comfortable to go because he can make a difference.”

D.C. UNITED

D.C. United began their road swing with a result, reaching a scoreless draw with Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday evening at BC Place. United are still in first place in the Eastern Conference with 47 points from 26 games.

LAST MATCH

• Each goalkeeper was credited with three saves in reaching the goalless deadlock. Whitecaps FC goalkeeper David Ousted did well to tip over a long-range Fabian Espindola shot in the first half, while Vancouver's Darren Mattocks had a close-range blast tipped over by United 'keeper Bill Hamid in the second half.

• United head coach Ben Olsen made one change to the team that defeated the New York Red Bulls 2-0 at RFK Stadium. David Estrada came in on the left side of midfield for the injured Chris Rolfe.
• D.C. UNITED (4-4-1-1): Bill Hamid - Sean Franklin, Bobby Boswell, Steve Birnbaum, Taylor Kemp - Nick DeLeon, Perry Kitchen, Davy Arnaud, David Estrada (Lewis Neal 70) - Luis Silva (Kyle Porter 85) - Fabian Espindola.

TEAM NEWS

• The draw was the first for United since June 7, when they took a point in a scoreless result at home against the Columbus Crew.
• “We’re happy with the point, considering the conditions. Travelling from east to west is never easy, so overall, a zero on the road is always a good thing – you give yourselves a chance,” said United head coach Ben Olsen.
• The draw also started a three-game stretch for United away from RFK Stadium. Following the visit to New York, United will play at Chicago on Sept. 20. United are 5-6-2 on their travels.
• “I think we need to be a little more consistency and I think we can, but overall, we’re pretty pleased with who we are. We’re weathering storms – we’ve got a little bit of an injury bug, as does most of the league right now, but we’ve just got to stay hungry and have the right edge to us,” said Olsen. “Maybe get a little better with some of the soccer stuff, but overall, we just need to keep the right mentality.”
• Said defender Sean Franklin: “Every game [from here on out] is important. Every game is a playoff game to us. Everyone is trying to catch us, and first place is what we want to get. Ultimately we want to finish in first place and hopefully win the Supporters’ Shield. Our team knows we’re about a game or two away from being in the playoffs, and that’s one thing that’s our biggest goal right now is the playoffs.”
• United recorded back-to-back shutouts for a second consecutive match in the scoreless draw at Vancouver. United have allowed just 30 goals this season, second-fewest in MLS – a year ago they allowed 59 goals, the second-most in the league.
• “We’ve been working hard, and we’ve talked about not giving up a goal, which gives us a chance to get three points or a tie,” said Franklin. “I thought the whole team was good defensively. Bill [Hamid] came up with a couple of huge saves, and that’s what it’s going to take from here on out.”
• With Chris Rolfe sidelined after suffering a fractured arm during training earlier in the week, David Estrada made his second start in three matches, his first starts since his arrival from Seattle Sounders FC.
• Eddie Johnson was supposed to start in attack, but was a late scratch from the lineup after team doctors determined he was suffering the effects of a concussion picked up during training earlier in the week.
• “It’s a huge point on the road for us. I don’t think it was our best performance, but we had 11 guys on the team that believed and fought and we grinded out a good result on the road,” said midfielder Perry Kitchen. “It was definitely a big point for us, and now we’re looking forward to a big game on Wednesday. … It’s a quick transition and we just saw them a week ago. We know who they are and they know who we are, so it’s going to make up another good battle.”

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Current Form

NY Red Bulls
D
W
L
W
L
W
D.C. United
L
W
W
L
W
D

Season Stats

New York Red BullsD.C. United
26Games Played27
8Wins14
8Losses8
10Draws5
41Goals42
39Goals Conceded30
251Shots224
118Shots on Target102
307Fouls committed344
284Fouls suffered292
68Offside69
120Corners109

Goals Scored

01234+TotalAvg
RBNY411704411.6
DC77733421.6
01234+Avg
RBNY044042.3
DC334221.8
01234+Avg
RBNY473000.9
DC443111.3

Goals Conceded

01234+TotalAvg
RBNY313712391.5
DC109431301.1
01234+Avg
RBNY173011.5
DC742100.8
01234+Avg
RBNY264111.5
DC352211.5
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