Déjà Vu: Red Bulls blow two goal lead in draw with DC

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by ANTHONY J. MERCED

HARRISON, N.J – For the second time in consecutive encounters, the New York Red Bulls dropped a two goal lead to D.C. United, who rallied in the 89′ minute for two goals en route to a 2-2 draw at Red Bull Arena.

The draw means D.C. United takes this year’s Atlantic Cup.

The late defensive lapses which have dogged New York on the road followed them to Red Bull Arena. New York took the lead with goals from designated players Gonzalo Veron and Bradley Wright-Phillips but it was DC’s late efforts that stole the headlines, with Steve Birnbaum and Lamar Neagle leading the charge.

“I’m gutted for our guys,” said Jesse Marsch after the game. “We could have obviously helped ourselves by getting a third goal but it’s been frustrating how many points we’ve given away late in games.”

The first half was a chippy, phyiscal affair, with New York losing Ronald Zubar to injury just five minutes into the game. DC pressed with chances from Lloyd Sam and Patrick Mullins but New York took control of the game before the 20th minute. Sacha Kljestan, fresh off of his USMNT rebirth, brought the ball to the endline in the 35th minute and created the mess which led to Gonzalo Veron’s third goal of the season. He also smacked the post on two separate chances on the afternoon.

“This one feels unlucky and little more unjust,” said Sacha Kljestan. “I hit the post a couple of times in this game and on a different day it could have easily been 6-0 maybe.”

The game opened up for New York Red Bulls in the second half as Daniel Royer emerged for his best performance of his short RBNY career. His touch split the DC defense on more than one occasion but it was his pinpoint pass to Bradley Wright Phillips in the 54th minute that helped double the lead for New York. For Wright-Phillips, it is his league-leading 18th goal of the season, setting him on top of the 2016 Golden Boot race.

The situation would turn for New York in the 89th minute as Steve Birnbaum brought DC back to within one. Then, in stoppage time, substitute Lemar Neagle scored his sixth goal of the season to draw even.

The draw spoils an opportunity for the Red Bulls. Toronto FC’s victory on the weekend puts them above New York City FC. A win for New York would have seen them tied with Toronto atop the East.

Next up for New York Red Bulls is a CONCACAF Champions League group stage game against Alianza FC at home on Thursday night. New York can clinch a birth into the knockout stage of the competition with a result.


STARTING XI:

New York Red Bulls: Robles; Duvall, Zubar (‘5 Perrinelle), Collin, Lawrence; Royer (’86 Etienne Jr.), Felipe, Davis, Kljestan, Veron (’64 Zizzo); Wright-Phillips

DC United: Hamid; Kemp, Franklin (’64 Mishu), Birnbaum, Boswell; Sarvas, Sam (’59 Neagle), Nyarko, DeLeon, Vincent (’55 Buescher); Mullins

GOALS:

’35 (RBNY) Gonzalo Veron (3) unassisted
’54 (RBNY) Bradley Wright Phillips (18) assisted by Daniel Royer (1)
’89 (DC United) Steve Birnbaum (3) unassisted
’90 (DC United) Lemar Neagle (6)

DISCIPLINE:

’25 (DC United) YELLOW CARD Rob Vincent
’34 (DC United) YELLOW CARD Lloyd Sam
’68 (DC United) YELLOW CARD Julian Buescher