Red Bulls Win Round One, Take 2-0 Lead to DC

IMAGE, NEWYORKREDBULLS.COM

by ERIC GIACOMETTI
Staff Writer

As the questions surrounding his future continue to surface, the brilliance of Thierry Henry was once again on display as the New York Red Bulls defeated DC United 2-0 in the first leg of their Eastern Conference semifinal clash.

Following a season that saw them win just three matches, United completed one of the best turnarounds in Major League Soccer history in 2014, finishing atop the Eastern Conference table with 59 points. Yet it was the home side that created the lion’s share of scoring opportunities on the night, despite playing their third match in eight days.

“It was a big victory,” said Petke. “It was obvious that [the United players] were rested and physically up for it, and we looked a little slower than usual. But in the second half I was thinking, ‘where did they find the energy?’”

The Red Bulls deployed a near identical lineup to the side that downed Sporting Kansas City on Thursday, with the lone change being the inclusion of Peguy Luyindula for Tim Cahill. Yet despite the exclusion of the three-time World Cup veteran, New York hardly skipped a beat.

Following a smattering of solid chances for both sides, the Red Bulls finally broke the deadlock via some superb buildup play spearheaded by the New York captain. Winger Lloyd Sam fed Henry as he raced into the penalty area. The Frenchman then played a cheeky back-heel to the league’s most prolific goal scorer as Bradley Wright-Phillips fired the Red Bulls to a 1-0 advantage in the 40th minute.

The Red Bulls would double their advantage in the 73rd minute as Henry was acted as the playmaker. His long ball over the top beat the United offside trap and Luyindula was sent in on Hamid unimpeded. A tidy finish from Luyindula was ultimately his last contribution of the match, as he was subsequently substituted off for Cahill.

Now sporting a two-goal cushion, the Red Bulls will travel to RFK Stadium for the return leg on Sunday, but the Red Bulls skipper knows the job is not yet done.

“The most important thing is that we got a shut out. No away goals for them and we go back to DC 2-0 up, but it’s far from over.”

  • At the end the article states that RBNY and DC play next on Sunday. It should be corrected to read Saturday as they next see each other on November 8th.