New York Red Bulls 1, D.C. United 0 | MLS Match Recap
HARRISON, N.J. – A heroic performance from Bill Hamid had a 10-man D.C. United team on the brink of securing a hard-fought road point, but Lloyd Sam came through late to lift the New York Red Bulls past their archrivals.
Just as the Red Bulls looked ready to settle for a frustrating draw at Red Bull Arena, Sam donned the hero’s cape and scored a 90th-minute winner to give New York a 1-0 win on Wednesday night. The goal came only after Hamid had thwarted a bevy of quality chances from New York, who were up a man after Fabian Espindola was controversially sent off with a straight red card in the 32nd minute.
The victory moved the Red Bulls to 9-8-10 and pushed them into fourth place in the Eastern Conference, which D.C. United still sit atop of despite falling to 14-9-5.
Even before head official Mark Geiger questionably dismissed Espindola for a high challenge on Dax McCarty, New York were wasteful with their opportunities in front of goal. MLS’ leading scorer Bradley Wright-Phillips lacked sharpness in the final third before coming off at halftime with hamstring tightness, and New York were unable to convert any of their 10 first-half chances.
Hamid made his share of stops in the opening 45 minutes, but he put on a Superman-like effort in the second half to keep D.C. from falling behind. The United goalkeeper stopped a bevy of Red Bulls chances and two from captain Thierry Henry, including on a point-blank effort in the 77th minute that stunned the 14,953 fans in attendance.
United almost stole all three points on a counter attack in the 80th minute when substitutes Lewis Neal and Kyle Porter combined, but Porter’s shot was too weak and the Red Bulls cleared it after it got by goalkeeper Luis Robles .
New York still could not find the breakthrough in the ensuing moments against a D.C. team that threw numbers back and almost settled for a draw that would’ve seen the Red Bulls go 0-2-1 vs. United this season. Sam, however, came to the rescue with his late dramatics.
Sam received a pass from an advanced Jamison Olave on the right side of the penalty area, dribbled forward and then slipped a shot under the seemingly unbeatable Hamid to send Red Bull Arena into ecstacy and give New York their first back-to-back wins since April.
The Red Bulls will continue their busy September and a three-games-in-eight-days stretch on Saturday when they pay other Eastern rivals the Philadelphia Union a visit.
D.C. United, meanwhile, head to Jamaica to take on W Connection in CONCACAF Champions League play next Tuesday before returning to MLS action with a game at the Chicago Fire on Sept. 20.
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached by email at Franco8813@gmail.com.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Lloyd Sam||His could be the most important goal of the season for NY, who jump back into the playoff picture|
|2||Bill Hamid||Nealry single-handedly got a point for DC, with his last save one of the best of the year|
|3||Dax McCarty||One of the brighter spots on a lethargic side, kept the ball moving forward all game|